Update: 27.10.2010

Switzerland to appear before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

At the beginning of November, Switzerland will give an account of its efforts on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Covenant I) before the UN Committee on Social Rights. It will be the second country report since the ratification of Covenant I by Switzerland in 1992.

The negotiations on the second and third states parties reports about Switzerland are to take place between 5th and 9th November. In addition to Switzerland, the focus will lie on the social rights in the Netherlands, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka.

Social rights are of too little importance

One would assume that Switzerland, as one of the richest countries in the world and a highly developed social system, doesn't have to fear too much criticism. But even before the first country report in 1989 the Committee voiced its worries about the distribution of wealth and prosperity in Switzerland. Another important issue was the discrimination of women (e.g. with regard to salaries and promotion) or the very high costs of the health insurance system. Further critical mentioning deserved the fact that there is a lack of data in many fields.

Swiss human rights and relief organisations, as well as trade unions also complain that there exist various problems and shortcomings within the system. They claim, in particular, that the social rights are only of minor importance because, in comparison with the classic fundamental rights, they are not included in the Swiss Federal Constitution as rights but as programmatic provisions. Therefore the are only enforcable to a very limited degree (see Art. 41 Federal Constitution). The abovementioned organisations are also worried about the grave shortcomings in the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights for foreign persons and minorities.

Headed by humanrights.ch, a broadly based coalition of NGOs compiled its assessment on the implementation of social rights in Switzerland in a so-calle dshadow report and forwarded it to the Committee in mid-September. The «Coalition suisse romande sur le droits économiques, sociaux et culturels», too, submitted a report for the attention of the Committee. Further petition of international organisations can be found on the website of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Report of the Swiss NGO coalition on the second and third report on Switzerland, September 2010
    English Version (pdf, 22 pages)
  • Coalition Suisse Romande: Rapport parallèle au 2ème et 3ème rapports de la Suisse sur la mise en oeuvre du Pacte international relatif aux droits
    économiques, sociaux et culturels (PIDESC)
    French (pdf, 125 pages)

 

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