Update: 18.12.2013

Switzerland provides «Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders»

With the presentation of new guidelines for the protection of human rights defenders, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) celebrated the Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013. FDFA representatives submitted these guidelines to the public in Zurich and underlined Switzerland’s eagerness to support the cause of human rights defenders even stronger and more effectively in the future.

«Because human rights defenders are committed to the full protection of and compliance with the rights and liberties of all individuals and entire groups, they are frequently prevented from carrying out their work. They are intimidated, subject to repression and in extreme cases even threatened with the loss of life and limb. In this light the protection of these actors is crucially important», Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter writes in the introduction to the guidelines. For years now the FDFA has been actively propagating the protection of these persons, for example by getting into contact with states if their authorities hinder or endanger the work of human rights defenders.

In order to standardise the existing Swiss practice for the cooperation with human rights defenders, the FDFA now has developed the «Swiss Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders». They are intended to serve Swiss representations abroad and other institutions and organisations as a useful reference and tool to ensure better protection for these persons. Another objective is to raise awareness for the problems associated with human rights defenders amongst the staff of these adressees. The guidelines shall help to ensure that the FDFA and the embassies in particular adopt a uniform approach in the protection of human rights defenders.


Further information

  • Who is a defender
    Information on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights homepage

© humanrights.ch / MERS - Hallerstr. 23 - CH-3012 Bern - Tel. +41 31 302 01 61