Update: 05.05.2014

International Feedback: immediate applicability of international human rights in Swiss law

In the following we have chosen some citations on the subject. At the end of each original citation you can find the source with a link to the complete text of the citation.

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women CEDAW

«The Committee notes with concern that, although the doctrine of monism is applied in the State party, the Federal Council has expressed the view that theConvention’s content is largely programmatic and that its provisions are not directlyapplicable. The Committee is therefore concerned that Swiss law may not provide women with the necessary means to enforce all their rights under the Convention.

The Committee recommends that the State party ensure effectiveenforcement of the rights enshrined in the Convention and provide women withappropriate remedies in the courts for violations of the rights protected by theConvention. It also recommends awareness-raising campaigns about the Convention aimed at parliamentarians, the judiciary and legal professionals.The Committee requests that the State party report on progress made in this regard in its next periodic report and provide information on whether theConvention has been invoked before domestic courts.»

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights CESCR

«The Committee regrets the State party’s persistent position that most of the provisions of the Covenant merely constitute programmatic objectives and social goals rather than legal obligations. Consequently, some of those provisions cannot be given effect in the domestic legal order of the State party and cannot be directly invoked before domestic tribunals and courts of the State party.
The Committee reiterates that, bearing in mind the provisions of article 28 of the ICESCR, the principal responsibility for Covenant implementation lies with the State party’s Federal government. The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to agree upon a comprehensive legislation giving effect to all economic, social and cultural rights uniformly between the Federal Government and the cantons; establish an effective mechanism to ensure the compatibility of domestic law with the Covenant; and, guarantee effective judicial remedies for the violations of the rights enshrined in the Covenant. The Committee encourages the State party to pursue its efforts of harmonizing cantonal laws and practices to ensure equal enjoyment of Covenant rights throughout the Confederation. The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the Committee’s General Comment No. 3 (1990) on the nature of States parties’ obligations, and General Comment No. 9 (1998) on the domestic application of the Covenant.»


«The Committee disagrees with the position of the State party that provisions of the Covenant constitute principles and programmatic objectivesrather than legal obligations, and that consequently the provisions of theCovenant cannot be given legislative effect. The Committee does not share the view of the Swiss authorities and recalls that in its General Comment No. 3 of 1990 on the nature of States parties' obligations under article 2 of theCovenant, it refers to a number of provisions in the Covenant, such as thoseof article 8 on the right to strike and those of article 13 on the right to education, which seem to be capable of immediate application within the judicial system. The Committee is of the view that any suggestion that theabove-mentioned provisions are inherently nonselfexecutingseems to be difficult to sustain.»

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