The promotion of peace, security and human rights is a key priority in the Federal Council’s foreign policy strategy. It focuses on the security of the individual and protecting people against violence, war and acts of arbitrary treatment.
Since 2011, Nigeria and Switzerland have been holding annual rounds of bilateral human rights dialogues and consultations. Thematic priorities have to date primarily been set on key civil and political rights of mutual interest, enabling constructive exchanges between the two countries on human rights challenges and best practices, both domestically and in the multilateral fora. This dialogue has enabled a more intense diplomatic activity and profiling of Switzerland in the field of human security and human rights, both with the Nigerian authorities and in coordination with the international community.
The human rights dialogues are complemented by technical support, in the form of operational projects carried out in partnership with Nigerian government agencies, parastatals and/or civil society organizations. To date, projects in Nigeria have mainly focused on issues revolving around human rights and security forces, access to justice, the fostering female rights in rural areas (Kano) as well as general human rights awareness.
Main Nigerian partners include, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Human Rights Commission, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Prisons Service, and a number of civil society organizations.
Peace and Security
Peace and security is one of the focus areas of Switzerland’s foreign policy strategy. Within the framework of the “Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021-2024” the Sahel section – inclusive of Nigeria – states that Switzerland contributes to the resolution of conflicts through its civilian and military peacebuilding activities. It promotes political dialogue with all actors and seeks to prevent terrorism, violent extremism and cross-border crime. This is implemented through the provision of technical and methodological competences, financial support, as well as by supporting the strengthening of capacities based on local expertise and know-how available in the region.
In addition to providing its good offices for inclusive and solution-oriented dialogue / mediation processes, Switzerland also contributes to preventive efforts – for instance in the field of ideologically driven violent extremism or around elections – as well as post-conflict stabilization engagements, for instance in the field of dealing with the past and prevention of atrocities. These activities require a diversified and complementary collaboration with governments, civil society and international organizations, as well as support to Nigerian and West African networks of peace actors.
Due to limited human and financial capacities, and in coherence with its other regional activities in neighboring Sahelian countries, Switzerland’s above-mentioned bilateral peace and security-related engagements in Nigeria focus mainly – though not exclusively – on the country’s North East / Lake Chad Basin area. A Senior Political Adviser based in Abuja is responsible for overall implementation of the program.
Human Security in ECOWAS
Being the Swiss Representation accredited to the ECOWAS Commission, the Embassy actively follows developments in the West Africa sub-region from a political, peace and security perspective.