National human rights institutions (NHRIs) are independent and enjoy a special status situated between the state and civil society, which enables them to work together with all actors – authorities, civil society, the private sector, research bodies and international organisations – and to support their efforts to improve the implementation of human rights. The draft bill issued for consultation by the Federal Council is based on the positive results of a pilot project of the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) done in 2011, while addressing the shortcomings identified in the evaluation of the pilot, in particular regarding independence.
According to the Federal Council's bill, the NHRI should take the form of a centre attached to one or more of Switzerland’s higher education institutions or other related institutions. Funding provided by the Confederation – in the same order of magnitude as the costs incurred within the framework of the SCHR, i.e. CHF 1 million – should be granted in the form of financial aid as set out in the Subsidies Act. This form of funding should enable the future NHRI to take full account of the issues within its mandate and thus respond independently to the needs in terms of protection and promotion of human rights in Switzerland.
The draft bill defines the conditions under which the financial aid of the Confederation will be allocated to the NHRI and its mandate. It also provides for a contribution to the higher education institutions or other related institutions involved, which must provide the NHRI, in keeping with the SCHR model, with the required infrastructure.
The consultation period will conclude on 31 October 2017.
Last modification 28.06.2017