Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights

The Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) was created on behalf of the Confederation as a pilot project, intended to gain experience in the field in order to establish a permanent National Human Rights Institution. The SCHR existed from 2011 until the end of 2022 and advised and supported authorities, NGOs and companies in implementing Switzerland's international human rights obligations. During the eleven years of its existence, the SCHR designed and developed over 200 projects on the implementation of human rights. The projects and the resulting publications are available to the public in the SCHR web archive.

The SCHR had the structure of a university network and was divided into six thematic clusters: Migration, Police and Justice, Gender Policy, Child and Youth Policy, Human Rights and the Economy, and Institutional Issues. As a final project, the six teams (corresponding to thematic clusters) assessed the human rights state of affairs in Switzerland from different perspectives and presented new ideas for improving the implementation of human rights. These are summarised in the final publication «Strengthening Human Rights in Switzerland – New Ideas for Policy and Practice»  [available in French and German].

Thematic Cluster «Institutional Issues»

The University of Fribourg, in particular the Institute of Federalism, was part of the SCHR and covered the thematic cluster «Institutional Issues». The related projects dealt with the interplay between human rights and federalism, and between human rights and direct democracy. For instance, the Institute examined the cantons’ implementation of international human rights obligations and the role of human rights in limiting majority decisions. In addition, various projects were carried out to protect the rights of vulnerable persons. The Institute produced various publications and projects in French and German, an overview of which can be found on the French and German versions of this site.