Swiss Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders analyzed by civil society

November 2, 2014

In December 2013, the Swiss Government became one of the few countries to issue specific Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (http://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/foreign-affairs/human-rights-foreign-policy/multilateral-policy/switzerland-guidelines-protection-human-rights-defenders). As in the case of all guidelines, the real test is in the implementation and on 12 June 2014, the Centre for Peacebuilding (KOFF) at Swisspeace organized a conference on the protection of HRDs, which brought together HRDs from Guatemala, Honduras, Serbia, Russia and Sri Lanka, Swiss government officials and representatives of Swiss civil society in order to give consideration to the different challenges that exist when it comes to HRD protection and, in particular, implementation of the Swiss guidelines.

The key questions considered within the country-specific workshops at the conference were:

  • What are the main challenges for HRDs?
  • How can the Swiss guidelines be contextualized?
  • How can different partners reinforce implementation of these guidelines?

The KOFF conference proves that such occasions, where different partners share their points of view and sometimes agree to disagree in an engaged dialog, are a necessary step in implementing the Swiss guidelines. The latter cannot be put into practice by one actor alone; they have to be taken forward by all actors together, each playing their respective roles.  The country-specific, practice-informed as well as practice-oriented recommendations are addressed to government representatives, Swiss civil society, local partners and HRDs.

For the full, well written report, see: http://www.swisspeace.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Media/Publications/Essentials/Essential_3_2014_Human_Rights_Defenders.pdf

One Response to “Swiss Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders analyzed by civil society”


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