Pioneering humanitarian work: Switzerland is at the origin of international humanitarian law and home to the Geneva Conventions. We have long been engaged in humanitarian action – starting with the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva by Swiss citizens in 1863. We are the top donor of annual, non-earmarked contributions to the ICRC and maintain close ties with many other humanitarian organisations. This tradition of international solidarity translates into the provision of impartial assistance during crises, armed conflicts and disasters, focusing on people’s needs and their right to live in security and dignity.
Standing up for the rule of law: International law is one of the most important guarantors of peace. While more than half of UN members are small states with a population of less than 10 million – just like Switzerland – a reliable rules-based international order is crucial for states of all sizes as it is the cornerstone of effective multilateralism. Small states have an essential role to play in this regard on the international stage. Improving compliance with and respect for international law is a high foreign policy priority for us.
Upholding human rights and protecting civilians: We put people first. Respecting human rights, including civil rights and liberties, helps to prevent conflict and fosters peaceful and sustainable societies. Switzerland is proud to support the important work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council in Geneva. We care about the protection of civilians and put our longstanding experience to good use as co-chair of the Group of Friends of the protection of civilians in New York and the Human Rights and Conflict Prevention Caucus in New York and Geneva.
Strength in diversity: Since the founding of modern-day Switzerland in 1848, the Swiss people have upheld a culture of diversity. Four national languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh – are spoken in the country. Close to 25% of the population are foreign nationals and one third were born abroad, meaning that different cultures and faiths live together and tolerance is part of everyday life.