Switzerland promotes women's rights at the Human Rights Council
At the 47th session (21 June – 14 July 2021) of the Human Rights Council (HRC), Switzerland took a firm stance in favour of women’s rights, as well as freedom of expression and private-sector cooperation on human rights. Switzerland is a founding and Steering Group member of GAAMAC.
The HRC's summer session traditionally focuses on women's rights. In line with its international cooperation strategy (see below), Switzerland was particularly active in this area, supporting the resolution on eliminating violence against women and girls with disabilities. Additionally, Switzerland contributed to the discussions on gender equal recovery from COVID-19 and preventing female genital mutilation. It also joined a group of States supporting the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Switzerland is a founding and Steering Group member of GAAMAC and chaired the network from 2013 to 2020, before handing over to Argentina. Atrocity prevention is central to its international cooperation strategy and includes a strong gender component:
“Switzerland promotes a dialogue that involves all the actors concerned (…). It works towards sustainable peace and places particular emphasis on including women in these processes. Switzerland has specific expertise in political processes such (…) dealing with the past and fighting impunity. It is committed to the prevention of crises and conflicts. Its international cooperation activities therefore include support for free and peaceful elections, restoration of the rule of law, equal participation of women and men, inclusion of minorities and marginalised groups in political processes and the prevention of violent extremism and atrocities.”
During the 47th HRC session, Switzerland also denounced the arrests of journalists, the criminalisation of civil society organisations and the excessive use of force during protests; it called for renewed efforts in involving the private sector in human rights protection; and facilitated a side event on human rights in the digital age, highlighting the need for increased cooperation between States, social media and tech companies, and civil society to develop responses tailored to today's challenges.