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Human rights and conflicts
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) takes the advancement of human rights in peace processes very seriously. In negotiating a solution to an armed conflict the intermediaries often face a difficult dilemma. Are human rights non-negotiable and are they to be included in the peace agreement? Or can they be traded in order to give the intermediaries greater negotiating leverage?
These questions are closely bound up with the concept of reconciliation, which is a key element in Switzerland's peace initiatives. Coming to terms with violent events in the past is essential if a lasting and secure peace is to be achieved; those guilty of human rights abuses committed during a violent conflict must be brought to account.
Switzerland contributed to the financing of a study undertaken by the renowned think tank, the International Council on Human Rights Policy. This comes to the conclusion -
- that reinforcement of human rights and peace building do not conflict with each other, but are complementary goals
- that governments do, in practice, have a certain room for manoeuvre
- but that the substance of the international agreement on protection of human rights may on no account be compromised
Switzerland uses the findings of this study in its own mediation efforts and contributes to its dissemination and consolidation.