Peace and Human Rights

Image of the Armillary Sphere before the Palais des Nations, Geneva
The Globe sculpture on the grounds of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

The promotion of peace and human rights is a priority of Swiss foreign policy. The centrepiece of this policy is the protection of individuals and their dignity. Every human being should be able to live in peace, free of fear and need. Switzerland works not only on the ground but also in international organisations in order to make this possible.

The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation explicitly stipulates that in its foreign relations Switzerland must promote respect for human rights and democracy and the peaceful coexistence of peoples (Art. 54).

On 1 May 2004, the Federal Act on Measures pertaining to Civil Peace Support and the Promotion of Human Rights took effect. The Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) is responsible for its implementation.

To carry out its tasks, the PHRD is allocated a framework credit which must be approved by Parliament every four years along with the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation. The PHRD has reviewed the impact, results and challenges of its work in the final report on the implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017–20. The lessons learned from this review have been incorporated in the new dispatch for the 2021–24 period.

Final report on the implementation of the Dispatch on Switzerland's international cooperation 2017–20

International cooperation strategy 2021–24: greater focus and impact


The PHRD works to ensure that conflicts are settled by peaceful means.

Human Rights Diplomacy

The PHRD works to ensure that human rights are respected and provides states with support in implementing them.

Humanitarian Diplomacy

The PHRD works to ensure the protection of civilians during and after conflicts, crises and natural disasters.

Foreign policy on migration

Switzerland's foreign policy on migration works to promote human rights of refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants.

Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding

The PHRD deploys experts on civilian peacekeeping missions.