Recommendations and Advance Questions for Switzerland

Statement delivered by Ambassador Hans Brattskar, 9 November 2017

Mr President,

Norway commends Switzerland for progress made during the review period.

We welcome the initiated legislative process to establish a National Human Rights Institution. Having re-established our own NHRI to fully comply with the Paris principles,

Norway recommends establishing an NHRI that is guaranteed broad competences, as well as institutional and financial independence.

In light of the pending constitutional initiative to declare the supremacy of the Swiss constitution over international law,

Norway recommends installing mechanisms to ensure the compatibility of popular initiatives with Switzerland’s human rights commitments.

Thank you.

Advance Questions

  1. Norway welcomes measures undertaken to address concerns regarding gender inequality during the review period. However, we see the need for broader action to combat persistent traditional gender patterns in Switzerland, including in the field of family policies. Following up on CEDAW’s recommendation, is Switzerland planning to develop a comprehensive gender equality strategy, policy and action plan to address structural factors causing persistent gender inequalities in Swiss society?

  2. Despite recommendations by several UN committees and the Council of Europe, Switzerland has not introduced a general anti-discrimination law. Switzerland rejected many recommendations, including from Norway, regarding such a law during the UPR 14 in 2012. In light of the 2016 study by the state funded Swiss Center of Expertise in Human Rights on access to justice, which shows a number of gaps and deficits in Swiss anti-discrimination law, Norway would like to ask what is the main obstacle to introducing a general anti-discrimination law in Switzerland? What measures are undertaken to ensure equal treatment?

  3. The Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance, ECRI, recommended in 2014 that the Swiss authorities task one or more independent authorities to promote understanding of LGBTI persons and combat the discrimination from which they suffer, with a budget. In 2017 ECRI considered that this recommendation had not been implemented. Which concrete measures will be undertaken to ensure an effective compliance with this recommendation?

  4. The Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks has called upon Switzerland to make progress in migration-related areas before the new asylum law enters in to force in 2019. How will the Swiss authorities follow up his statement?