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Human rights are comprehensively guaranteed in Switzerland, one of Europe's oldest democracies. Together with other European states, Switzerland is often at or near the head in international civil liberties and political rights rankings.[1]

As with many other Western states, Amnesty International reports some cases of alleged abuse, mostly involving the use of excessive force by the Swiss police of some cantons against foreigners. Amnesty's 2005 report[2] says (of the Swiss police) that "[t]here were regular reports of ill-treatment, often accompanied by racist abuse. Police accountability mechanisms were unsatisfactory and such abuses were often committed with impunity."

Switzerland is signatory to all relevant international human rights instruments. It is also the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions and the place where several human rights-related NGOs were established or headquarters, including the Red Cross. The United Nations Human Rights Council, of which Switzerland is a member and which it was instrumental in establishing,[3] has its seat in Geneva. Respect for human rights and the promotion of democracy is also one of the five official foreign policy goals of Switzerland.[4]

Women were granted the right to vote in the first Swiss cantons in 1959, at the federal level only in 1971[5] and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden in 1990 (despite Switzerland having ratified the European Convention on Human Rights 16 years earlier).


See also


External links



  1. ^ See Freedom House ranking, 2005. Switzerland received the highest possible grade, 1, in both political rights and civil liberties. See also Switzerland's entry in List of indices of freedom.
  2. ^ See "References".
  3. ^ Swissinfo, Swiss hold out hope for UN human rights body, March 25, 2006
  4. ^ See the policy linked to under "References".
  5. ^ A Brief Survey of Swiss History, Retrieved on 2009-06-22

Further literature

  • Hernando de Soto, Francis Cheneval (2006): Realizing Property Rights. Swiss Human Rights Book Vol. 1. rüffer & rub: Zurich. ISBN 978-3-907625-25-5
  • Carol Bellamy, Jean Zermatten (2007): Realizing the Rights of the Child. Swiss Human Rights Book Vol. 2. rüffer & rub: Zurich. ISBN 978-3-907625-34-7
  • Andrew Clapham, Mary Robinson (2009): Realizing the Right to Health. Swiss Human Rights Book Vol. 3. rüffer & rub: Zurich. ISBN 978-3-907625-45-3


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