International Poster Exhibition by members of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale)

Preface Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

[The Confederation] shall in particular assist in the alleviation of need and poverty in the world and promote respect for human rights and democracy, the peaceful co-existence of peoples as well as the conservation of natural resources.

Article 54(2) of the Swiss Federal Constitution

In a globalized and rapidly changing world, the difference between what we used to define as “the others” as opposed to “us” is in many instances fading away, with an evolution towards greater overlaps and commonalities between individuals, communities and cultures. New communication and information technologies have brought People closer together and have thus led to an increased interdependence and a constant Exchange beyond natural, political, and cultural borders.

Cultural diversity has become an integral part of almost every society, also embracing aspects of religion, language, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and personal identity. In short: coexistence has become one of the key features of our time. This is also true for Switzerland. The peaceful coexistence of different communities is part of our country’s political foundation. The population of Switzerland is diverse in language, religion, and ethnicity. The protection, integration and equality of these different communities have been a political priority from the early days of our country’s existence and remain an essential task up to these days. It requires a continuous dialogue at all levels of society and politics.

Switzerland’s political system is based on fundamental values which include, beside the principles of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different communities, direct democracy, federalism, rule of law, non-discrimination, and the protection of human rights of all people. The protection and promotion of human rights is also a top priority of Switzerland’s foreign policy, provided for by the Federal Constitution. In its international engagement for peace, human rights, stability and democracy, Switzerland attaches particular importance to the situation of minorities and promotes the peaceful coexistence between peoples. To this end, the pragmatic and open dialogue with all concerned parties is an essential instrument of Swiss Foreign Policy, with the aim of finding sustainable, socially equitable solutions towards stimulating economic development and promoting prosperity. This approach is in part rooted in our own history. Over the past decades and even centuries, we have learned that diversity is a strength, not a burden. Non-discrimination and equality as well as the protection of minorities and the Promotion of their participation in the political and social life are key pillars of our country. Switzerland is convinced that these principles are the basis for the peaceful co-existence of different communities in a country, which in turn contributes to a stable international environment.

Véronique Haller
Head, Office of Human Rights Policy
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs