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Discrimination

On this page you will find legal guarantees and other regulations from the Swiss Federal Constitution, the European and international human rights treaties and further documents under international law. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, as regulations from other regional treaties and topically similar safeguarding provisions of international humanitarian law are not included.

Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999
(status as of 1 January 2011)

(English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.)

Article 8 (Equality before the law): (1) Everyone shall be equal before the law.
(2) No one may be discriminated against, in particular on grounds of origin, race, gender, age, language, social position, way of life, religious, ideological, or political convictions, or because of a physical, mental or psychological disability.
(3) Men and women shall have equal rights. The law shall ensure their equality, both in law and in practice, most particularly in the family, in education, and in the workplace. Men and women shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
(4) The law shall provide for the elimination of inequalities that affect persons with disabilities.

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination): The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Abstract: The general principle of equality and non-discrimination is a fundamental element of international human rights law. The protection provided by Article 14 of the Convention with regard to equality and non-discrimination is limited in comparison with those provisions of other international instruments. The principal reason for this is the fact that Article 14 does not contain an independent prohibition of discrimination, that is, it prohibits discrimination only with regard to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance considered that the protection offered by the ECHR from racial discrimination should be strengthened by means of an additional protocol containing a general clause against discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, language, religion or national or ethnic origin. 

European Social Charter (revised)

Article 20 (The right to equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation without discrimination on the grounds of sex): With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation without discrimination on the grounds of sex, the Parties undertake to recognise that right and to take appropriate measures to ensure or promote its application in the following fields:
(a) access to employment, protection against dismissal and occupational reintegration;
(b) vocational guidance, training, retraining and rehabilitation;
(c) terms of employment and working conditions, including remuneration;
(d) career development, including promotion.

Article 27 (The right of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunities and equal treatment): With a view to ensuring the exercise of the right to equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women workers with family responsibilities and between such workers and other workers, the Parties undertake:
(1) to take appropriate measures:
(a) to enable workers with family responsibilities to enter and remain in employment, as well as to re-enter employment after an absence due to those responsibilities, including measures in the field of vocational guidance and training;
(b) to take account of their needs in terms of conditions of employment and social security;
(c) to develop or promote services, public or private, in particular child day-care services and other childcare arrangements;
(2) to provide a possibility for either parent to obtain, during a period after maternity leave, parental leave to take care of a child, the duration and conditions of which should be determined by national legislation, collective agreements or practice;
(3) to ensure that family responsibilities shall not, as such, constitute a valid reason for termination of employment.

(Switzerland has not ratified this Charter.)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PART II)

Article 2: (1) Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.
(2) The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 
(3) Developing countries, with due regard to human rights and their national economy, may determine to what extent they would guarantee the economic rights recognized in the present Covenant to non-nationals.

Article 3: The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (PART II)

Article 2: (1) Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 26: All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

The ICERD as such is concerned with the elimination of discrimination.

  • ICERD
    Topical page on humanrights.ch

Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (ICEDAW)

The ICEDAW as such is concerned with the elimination of discrimination.

  • ICEDAW
    Topical page on humanrights.ch

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 2: (1) States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
(2) States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

Part II: Non-discrimination with Respect to Rights

Article 7: States Parties undertake, in accordance with the international instruments concerning human rights, to respect and to ensure to all migrant workers and members of their families within their territory or subject to their jurisdiction the rights provided for in the present Convention without distinction of any kind such as to sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or other status.

(This Convention has not been ratified by Switzerland.)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 5 (Equality and non-discrimination): (1) States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.
(2) States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.
(3) In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.
(4) Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.

Article 6 (Women with disabilities): (1) States Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination, and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
(2) States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement and empowerment of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the present Convention.

Article 7 (Children with disabilities): (1) States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.
2. In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children, and to be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realize that right.

ILO Conventions

Several conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are concerned with the prohibition of discrimination, e.g. Convention No. 111 on Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, and Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities.

Sources:

General:

Race:

Sexual orientation:

Disability:

Gender:

Update: 19.08.2011

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