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Uprisings in the Arab World
What began in December 2010 with the self-immolation of a desperate young man in Tunisia has turned into a conflagration that has engulfed numerous countries in northern Africa and the Middle East. The call for democracy, human dignity, and a better future took on deafening proportions and in many places caused the existing political structures to tremble and even collapse. Switzerland’s strategy for North Africa is a reflection of its efforts to support transition in the Arab world.
These uprisings, in which the younger generation played a decisive role, caused the dictators to tremble, to resign, or to revert to means of violent repression. In view of these upheavals in the Arab world, Switzerland has undertaken to implement various measures.
Freeze on assets
The Federal Council, for instance, immediately ordered a freeze on the financial assets of numerous politically exposed persons (PEPs) such as heads of State, ministers, high-level civil servants, along with their respective entourage. Switzerland actively supports the new governments in their efforts to recover the frozen assets. It periodically organizes international conferences for experts on the theme of legal assistance and the restitution of illegally acquired assets. And it has already provided legal assistance to a number of States.
In connection with the crisis in Libya, the Swiss Confederation dispatched humanitarian aid not only to Tunisia and Egypt to assist those persons who had fled Libya, but also to the particularly exposed population groups in Libya itself.
Due to the recent developments in Syria, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has decided to release additional funds for humanitarian aid. These funds have primarily been earmarked for measures aimed at protecting and assisting the population, as well as meeting the needs of the refugees in the neighbouring countries.
Switzerland’s commitment in Syria
In addition, the Federal Council rapidly decided that Switzerland should substantially strengthen its commitment in northern Africa so as to create the best possible pre-conditions for a successful transition. Switzerland’s so-called North Africa strategy has laid down three priority courses of action:
- Support of the transition to democracy and the respect for human rights. These goals will be achieved, for instance, by promoting the rule of law, electoral processes, and structural reforms (particularly in the domains of security and the judicial system) as well as by strengthening civil society and the free media.
- The second priority is to foster programmes for economic development and job creation.
- Switzerland will seek to protect those population groups that are most vulnerable, and to enhance its cooperation in the domain of migration.
Although in the meantime elections have been conducted in Egypt, in Tunisia and in Libya, the transition will not be coming to an end anytime soon. Hence, Switzerland will also be pursuing its activities in these countries at least until 2016.
- Switzerland urges international community to meet their financial pledges for Syrian crisis
Media release, 19.02.2013
- Switzerland welcomes the recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry that those responsible for human rights violations in Syria should be prosecuted
Media release, 18.02.2013
- Switzerland provides an additional CHF 10 million in humanitarian aid for crisis in Syria
Media release, 30.1.2013
- Switzerland signs a cooperation agreement with Egypt
Media release, 21.1.2013
- Switzerland asks the UN Security Council to refer the serious crimes committed in Syria to the International Criminal Court
Media release, 14.1.2013
- The FDFA appeals to the Syrian authorities to respect international humanitarian law
Media release, 15.11.2012
- The use of cluster munitions in Syria
- Attack on the US consulate in Benghazi (Libya) – FDFA statement
Media release, 12.9.2012
- Amendment to the Ordinance on measures against certain persons from the Arab Republic of Egypt
Media release, 6.9.2012
- Engagement of the SDC in Syria
- Elections in Libya
- Swiss-Tunisian expert talks on frozen assets
Media release, 26.06.2012
- Presidential elections in Egypt: a key step in the transition towards democracy
Media release, 25.06.2012
- FDFA declares Syrian Ambassador «persona non grata»
Media release, 29.05.2012
- Switzerland calls for an investigation into the massacre in Houla
Media release, 27.05.2012
- Deployment of unarmed Swiss military observers in Syria
Media release, 04.05.2012
- Switzerland to participate in the advance team of the UN mission to Syria
Media release, 18.04.2012
- Negotiations with Tunisia completed
Media release, 28.03.2012 (de)
- Engagement of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Syria
- Swiss commitment to North Africa, one year later
Media release, 07.03.2012
- Humanitarian Briefing on the Situation in Syria organized by Switzerland
- Restitution of illicit assets in the context of the Arab Spring: meeting of experts in Lausanne
Media release, 24.01.2012
- Violence in Egypt
Swiss Position, 21.11.2011
- Death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
- Upheaval in the Arab world – a turning point for Europe and Switzerland
Media release, 18.10.2011
- Further sanctions against Syria
Media release, 30.09.2011 (de)
- New Swiss Ambassador to Libya
Media release, 29.09.2011
- EU-Tunisia Task Force meeting in Tunis
Media release, 27.09.2011
- Further sanctions against Syria
Media release, 23.09.2011 (de)
- Speech by the President of the Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey during a mini-Summit on Libya
New York, 20.09.2011
- Speech by the President of the Confederation during the international conference on Libya in Paris (fr)
- Switzerland appeals for the protection of civilians in Libya
Media release, 22.08.2011
- The FDFA recalls the Swiss Ambassador in Syria to Bern for consultations
Media release, 18.08.2011
- 17th special session of the Human Rights Council: statement by Switzerland on the situation in Syria