Switzerland: Swiss people vote to defend human rights in referendum
Responding to the emphatic referendum defeat of the so-called ‘initiative for self-determination’, a proposal to put Swiss law above international law, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:
“This weekend the Swiss people showed that they had not fallen for deceptive promises but instead used the ballot box to send out a clear signal that they want to live in a society where human rights apply to everyone.
Politicians in Switzerland and around the world should take note that a clear majority of the Swiss people have opted for human rights and rejected attempts to attack and scapegoat the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society.
“Politicians in Switzerland and around the world should take note that a clear majority of the Swiss people have opted for human rights and rejected attempts to attack and scapegoat the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society. At a time when many leaders around the world are trying to roll back human rights protections, the Swiss people have today sent an important message.”
Manon Schick, Director of the Swiss section of Amnesty International said:
“The unequivocal result of the referendum is recognition of the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is a vote for legal certainty, the separation of powers and the protection of minorities.”
On 25 November 2018, Swiss citizens voted in a referendum against the so-called ‘self-determination initiative’ of the Swiss People's Party (SVP). According to the pollster gfs.bern (Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung) for Swiss Tefelvision SRF, the initiative was rejected by 67 percent of the votes.
The initiative aimed to place the Swiss Constitution above international law and called for international treaties to be terminated «if necessary», should they conflict with the Constitution.
This would have endangered Switzerland's human rights obligations and could have led to the country’s denunciation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and its withdrawal from the Council of Europe. The Swiss section of Amnesty International and other organisations campaigned against the initiative and to defend human rights in this referendum.