Update: 19.08.2011

Minority rights

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

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

Article 18 (Freedom to use any language): The freedom to use any language is guaranteed.

European Social Charter (revised)

Article E (Non-discrimination): The enjoyment of the rights set forth in this Charter shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national extraction or social origin, health, association with a national minority, birth or other status.

(This Charter has not been ratified by Switzerland)

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

The framework Convention is the first legally binding multilateral instrument devoted to the protection of national minorities. Its aim is to specify the legal principles which states undertake to respect in order to ensure the protection of national minorities. The entire Convention is applicable to minority rights.

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages 

This Charter is designed to protect and promote regional or minority languages as a threatened aspect of Europe’s cultural heritage. For this reason it not only contains a non-discrimination clause concerning the use of these languages but also provides for measures offering active support for them: the aim is to ensure, as far as reasonably possible, the use of regional or minority languages in education and the media and to permit their use in judicial and administrative settings, economic and social life and cultural activities. The charter sets out to protect and promote regional or minority languages, not linguistic minorities. The entire Charter is applicable to minority rights.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 27: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

Convention on the Rights of the Child 

Article 30: In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.

Sources:

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