Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Bern, 29.04.2015 - Switzerland has reaffirmed its commitment to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to promoting respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons. At its meeting of 29 April 2015, the Federal Council decided to adhere to the Valletta Declaration of Intent, a document that was drafted by a group of countries from the Council of Europe and has thus far been signed by 18 member states.

The Valletta Declaration of intent was adopted on 14 May 2014 at the occasion of last year's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The document reaffirms the commitment taken up in the framework of the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council on Europe, issued on 31 March 2010, which calls for measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Declaration is intended to broaden the scope of the 2010 Recommendation by expressly extending protection to intersex persons and opposing any form of social exclusion based on non-conformity with gender stereotypes.

The principle of non-discrimination lies at the core of Switzerland's commitment to the promotion of human rights. In addition to reaffirming this principle, Switzerland's decision to join the Valletta Declaration is a mark of our country's support for the important role played by the Council of Europe in promoting and protecting human rights including the rights of victims of discriminations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Switzerland provides financial support for the work of various bodies within the Council of Europe that are active in this domain. It contributes to the efforts of the Council's “LGBT Unit”, which carries out various awareness-raising and support activities by member states and civil society for the advancement of the human rights of LGBT people. Switzerland also supports the work of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), whose mandate now also extends to the issue of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lastly, Switzerland is an active member of the informal European network of national focal points for human rights of LGBTI persons, which meets twice annually. The 15th meeting of the network will be held in Geneva, on 19 and 20 November 2015, at Switzerland's invitation. This event will bring together the other active member states of the Council of Europe, as well as representatives of international organisations, non-governmental organisations, and academics whose activities relate to the advancement of human rights of LGBTI persons.

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