Switzerland (2nd cycle)
For a summary of Switzerland’s review at the first cycle please click here.
14th UPR session
Date of review: 29 October 2012
Date of report adoption: March 2013
Working Group report: A/HRC/22/x
Recommendations: Take necessary measures to expand the provisions of the Criminal Code on hate speech in order to include grounds which go beyond hatred based on race, religion or origin of the individual, integrating such factors as language, colour, sex, mental or physical deficiency, sexual orientation or other similar grounds; Introduce legislation, uniformly across the Confederation, that explicitly protects LGBT persons from discrimination, and take into account the issues faced by LGBT persons when creating a general act on equal treatment.
Status: Pending to HRC22 (March 2013)
I. Key issues/recommendations identified by NGOs
- include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in non-discrimination legislation;
- introduce comprehensive sexuality education; remove the sterilisation requirement for change of gender in official documents;
- remove restrictions on same-sex adoption;
- apply the Yogyakarta Principles.
II. Excerpts from input reports
III. Promotion and protection of human rights
A. Equality, non-discrimination (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, arts. 1, 2 and 7) and subjects of specific rights
11. Dignity and equality are the first two rights listed in the series of enforceable rights set forth in the Federal Constitution (arts. 7–34). The constitutional principles of equality before the law and the prohibition of discrimination (article 8 of the Constitution) are reflected in several federal laws such as the Gender Equality Act, the Disabled Persons Equality Act, and the Act on Registered Partnerships between Persons of the Same Sex.
7. Sexual orientation and gender identity
50. On 22 February 2012, the Federal Council endorsed an amendment to the Act on Registered Partnerships between Persons of the Same Sex allowing the adoption by one partner of the natural or adopted children of the other when such children are the issue of, or were adopted during, a prior relationship. The proposed revision of the Nationality Act, however, does not provide for same-sex partners in a registered partnership to benefit from an expedited naturalization procedure.
51. On 1 February 2011, the Zurich Supreme Cantonal Court ruled that an application for a change of sex that had been filed by a person who had undergone long-term hormone treatment but not gender reassignment was admissible. In February 2012, the Federal Government supported this ruling in a similar case. In accordance with the relevant recommendations of the Council of Europe, the Federal Government also ordered registry offices to register legal decisions attesting the sex change of married persons or persons in a registered partnership, if those persons so wished, without requiring them to dissolve the marriage or partnership first.
Compilation of UN information
No references to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Summary of stakeholder submissions
III. Implementation of international human rights obligations
A. Equality and non-discrimination
19. JS1 similarly observed that legal protection against discrimination was still fragmentary. Some individuals and specific groups were exposed to discrimination because they were not specifically protected and did not have the specific legal instruments to claim their rights. In the context of employment, cases of discrimination due to HIV/AIDS were on the rise and LGBTI persons were also still subject to discrimination. JS1 recommended that Switzerland introduce a new federal law that explicitly prevents and combats discrimination and that protects different groups, including explicitly people living with chronic diseases and LGBTI persons. JS3 similarly recommended that Switzerland explicitly consider the issues and violations faced by LGBTI persons when creating a general act on equal treatment.
I. Right to education
46. JS4 recommended the introduction of education on sexuality in all curricula. JS1 called on the Government to guarantee equal access to comprehensive sexuality education for all children and adolescents. A strategy to implement efficiently existing models and standards should be developed together with professional associations and educational institutions. JS3 recommended that Switzerland systematically include education on sexuality and sexual health in the curricula and implement such education in a comprehensive manner.
III. References to SOGI during the Working Group review
Presentation by the State under review
The delegation noted that measures would also be taken in the coming years to improve the legal framework for same sex couples. Starting 2013, registered partnerships will have the same rights as married couples with respect to name. In addition, conditions for the changing of name, sex or civil status will be relaxed.
IV. Conclusions and/or recommendations
123. The following recommendations will be examined by Switzerland, which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013:
123.49. Take necessary measures to expand the provisions of the Criminal Code on hate speech in order to include grounds which go beyond hatred based on race, religion or origin of the individual, integrating such factors as language, colour, sex, mental or physical deficiency, sexual orientation or other similar grounds (Canada);
123.76. Adopt federal legislation in order to provide protection against all forms of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (Norway);
123.77. Introduce legislation, uniformly across the Confederation, that explicitly protects LGBT persons from discrimination, and take into account the issues faced by LGBT persons when creating a general act on equal treatment (Ireland).
V. Adoption of the Report
The report of the working group is due to be adopted at the 22nd regular session of the Human Rights Council in March 2013.
VI. Further information
For first cycle reports of Switzerland, please see here
National report 1 : A | C | E | F | R | S
Compilation of UN information 2: A | C | E | F | R | S
Summary of stakeholders’ information 3: A | C | E | F | R | S
Questions submitted in advance : E
Addendum 1 : E
Addendum 2 : E
Addendum 3 : E
Report of the Working group: E