The European Network on Statelessness has worked with individual members and humanrights.ch to develop and maintain a country profile on Switzerland as part of the Statelessness Index – an online tool which allows instant comparison of how different countries protect people without a nationality.
Humanrights.ch is a Swiss non-profit organization founded in 1999 with the main aim of gathering and providing information, raising public awareness, monitoring state action and counselling on human rights issues and the human rights situation in Switzerland.
To promote the key findings of the Switzerland Index profile, and provide a resource for national advocacy on statelessness in Switzerland, the European Network on Statelessness and humanrights.ch have developed a Swiss Country briefing in both English and German.
The briefing summarises key information from the Index on how Swiss law, policy and practice performs against international norms and good practice on the protection of stateless persons and the prevention and reduction of statelessness. It covers the five thematic areas of the index – International and Regional Instruments, Stateless Population Data, Statelessness Determination and Status, Detention and Prevention and Reduction, and makes a series of recommendations to the Swiss Government for reform in priority areas.
Summary of key findings and recommendations
The briefing reveals that, whilst there are some positive safeguards and legal procedures in place to identify and prevent statelessness in Switzerland, there is room for improvement. Switzerland does have a procedure to determine statelessness, but it is not formalised in law and has strict requirements which stateless people struggle to meet without legal support and an interpreter. Furthermore, although safeguards exist to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children and children born to Swiss nationals abroad, there is no legal safeguard for otherwise stateless children born in Switzerland.
To overcome these barriers to the realisation of stateless people’s rights, the briefing recommends that the Swiss Government should establish a dedicated, formalised statelessness determination procedure and consider amending the law so that all children born in Switzerland who would otherwise be stateless acquire a nationality at birth.
By bringing together this information, this briefing enables actors to utilise the findings of the Index in their advocacy to promote stateless persons’ rights in Switzerland, and provide clear, actionable recommendations to improve law, policy and practice on statelessness.