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Centre of expertise


Government announces new human rights institution


The Swiss government is establishing a new national human rights organisation whose goal is to further strengthen discussion and interactions over such rights in the country.

To do so, the new institution will work at supporting public authorities, businesses and civic organisations to promote human rights and foster contacts among them.

The concept is based on an idea put forward by the cabinet in 2009 stating that more services were needed in the area of human rights. At that time, a five-year pilot project was founded, known as the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights, or SCHR, made up of a network of universities and organisations.

On Wednesday, the government announced it would now build on that pilot project to develop a full-fledged institution based on United Nations recommendations.

The new offering is meant to act independently of the Swiss government to provide expertise and networking in the area of human rights. It is to maintain strong ties with universities, make specific recommendations to both public and private sector actors and foster interaction among them on the issue of human rights.

The Swiss government had been funding the SCHR pilot project with CHF1 million ($1.02 million) per year, and that level of funding will continue for the new human rights organisation. A legal basis will be created so the funding will remain unconditional.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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