National report and action plan on business and human rights

Bern, 09.12.2016 — On 9 Decem­ber 2016 the Fed­er­al Coun­cil adopt­ed a report out­lin­ing a nation­al action plan for the imple­men­ta­tion of the Unit­ed Nations Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples on Busi­ness and Human Rights. Switzer­land is one of the first coun­tries to adopt such a strat­e­gy in order to pro­mote coher­ence between busi­ness activ­i­ties and human rights.

The Unit­ed Nations Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples on Busi­ness and Human Rights, adopt­ed by the Human Rights Coun­cil in June 2011, rest on three pillars:
— The cen­tral duty of the state to pro­tect human rights;
— The respon­si­bil­i­ty of com­pa­nies to respect human rights;
— The oblig­a­tion to pro­vide appro­pri­ate and effec­tive reme­dies in the event of human rights abus­es com­mit­ted by companies.

The UN Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples estab­lish a foun­da­tion for reg­u­lat­ing var­i­ous busi­ness activ­i­ties from a human rights perspective.
The Fed­er­al Council’s report was drawn up in response to the par­lia­men­tary pos­tu­late 12.3503, which was sub­mit­ted in June 2012 by Nation­al Coun­cil mem­ber Alec von Graf­fen­ried. The strat­e­gy focus­es on the duty of the state to pro­tect human rights and pro­vide access to reme­dies. It con­tains 50 instru­ments aimed at ensur­ing that Swiss com­pa­nies oper­at­ing in Switzer­land and abroad respect human rights, for exam­ple by includ­ing the top­ic of busi­ness and human rights in polit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions and ensur­ing that
Swiss rep­re­sen­ta­tions abroad raise com­pa­nies’ aware­ness of the issue.
The report was drawn up fol­low­ing a broad con­sul­ta­tion process involv­ing the pri­vate sec­tor, non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tions, social part­ners, the aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty and research insti­tutes. The mea­sures pro­posed in the strat­e­gy are set to be imple­ment­ed on a four-year basis syn­chro­nized with the leg­isla­tive periods.

Address for enquiries

FDFA Infor­ma­tion
Tel. +41 31 322 31 53

Ambas­sador Jean-Jacques Elmiger
SECO, Labour Direc­torate, Inter­na­tion­al Labour Affairs
Tel. +41 58 462 28 87

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