Human rights are at the core of Switzerland’s values and political model alongside the principles of democracy, non-discrimination, gender equality, peaceful coexistence, and mutual respect among people of different backgrounds. Yet in today’s world human rights violations are still happening. Recognizing the key role human rights defenders play in protecting and promoting human rights, Switzerland will continue to engage for their better protection and the strengthening of the civil society space.
In Albania during 2017 Swiss support enabled the 12th edition of the International Human Rights Film Festival by the ‘Marubi’ Academy of Film and Multimedia which brought to the Albanian public nearly 40 films made by producers around the world.
Human rights are essential for sustainable development, peace and security in our societies. This is highlighted in the ‘Appeal of June 13th’ initiated by Switzerland and signed by more than seventy countries. The Appeal makes it clear that human rights can prevent conflicts and increase peace and security. Therefore it advocates a greater engagement of the international community to advance human rights. In addition to the Appeal, Switzerland also strengthens the United Nations work in dealing with human rights violations and crisis, supports the Action Plan of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development which includes promotion of peaceful, just and inclusive societies – SDG16.
Switzerland is home to many important international platforms and organisations in the area of human rights. In particular the Swiss city of Geneva plays a major role in setting norms and standards in international human rights. More than a hundred human rights NGO’s are present or represented in Geneva in addition to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and many academic institutions.
As a host country for many international and multinational organisations and businesses Switzerland recognizes the task of encouraging the private sector to respect and protect human rights and prevent abuses. Switzerland encourages and facilitates dialogue between the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and governments, seeking ways to implement sustainable solutions for strengthening the contribution of business to the respect of international human rights and humanitarian law, to peace and to stability, while maintaining a framework that is favourable to investment and sustainable development
Switzerland calls upon its partners and the international community to join it in making this Human Rights Day 2017 a day of unequivocal relevance for the promotion and the protection of human rights.