Federal Council decides to bring in legislation to ban Hamas
Bern, 22.11.2023 - At its meeting on 22 November 2023, the Federal Council decided to propose a federal Act to Parliament banning Hamas in Switzerland. It instructed the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) to prepare the draft legislation. The Federal Council was also briefed on the audit carried out by the FDFA on financial flows to Switzerland's NGO partners under its cooperation programme for the region. The contracts with three Palestinian NGOs will be terminated. In view of the current dramatic situation in Israel and Gaza, the Federal Council calls for respect for international humanitarian law and in particular the protection of civilians.
On 11 October 2023, four days after Hamas carried out terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip against civilians in Israel, the Federal Council decided to designate Hamas a terrorist organisation. It instructed the FDFA to explore legal options for banning the organisation. On 22 November, the Federal Council decided to draft a federal Act banning Hamas, considering this to be the most appropriate response to the situation that has prevailed in the Middle East since 7 October. The Act will provide the federal authorities with the necessary tools to counter any Hamas activities or support for the organisation in Switzerland. The Federal Council instructed the FDJP and the DDPS, along with the FDFA, to submit the draft legislation by the end of February 2024.
On 11 October the Federal Council also instructed the FDFA to carry out a detailed analysis of the financial flows linked to the partner NGOs in the 2021–24 cooperation programme for the region. At its meeting on 22 November, the Federal Council was briefed on the results of the analyses carried out to date, which have not revealed any irregularities, as well as new control measures planned for the future.
In addition, eleven partner NGOs underwent in-depth verification of their compliance with the FDFA's code of conduct and the anti-discrimination clause in their contracts. For eight of them, no evidence of non-compliance was found, and their contractual relationship with the FDFA will continue. For three others, however, instances of non-compliance were identified, leading to the termination of their contracts.
Finally, at its meeting today, the Federal Council reiterated its condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms. It expresses deep sorrow for the thousands of civilians who have lost their lives in Israel and across the occupied Palestinian territories since 7 October. It recognises Israel's right to ensure its own defence and security and reiterates that the protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law are obligations incumbent on all parties. In view of the dramatic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the Federal Council stresses the need to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access. Humanitarian pauses are necessary for this purpose. On 1 November 2023, the Federal Council allocated an additional CHF 90 million in humanitarian aid for the region. The Federal Council reiterates the need to restore the prospect of a political framework in the region, based on the two-state solution. This approach is the only viable path towards ensuring that both the Palestinian and Israeli populations can coexist peacefully, securely and with dignity.
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