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Switzerland

5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights [page 9]:

The Federal Council regards the implementation of the UNGP as an ongoing process which must adapt to shifting challenges, and will also make a key contribution to preventing any conflicts of objectives between Switzerland’s human rights and foreign trade policies – or to resolving them.

5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect

5.7.2 Operational principles: legislative and information policy measures

Guiding Principle 3 [page 15]

PI13 Regulation of war material section the NAP refers to trade

Business enterprises which manufacture or trade in war material are exposed to an increased risk of becoming involved in human rights abuses by third parties. International standards on the regulation and control of international trade in conventional weapons were laid down in the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013 and entered into force on 24 December 2014. Switzerland ratified the Treaty on 30 January 2015. (…) The Federal Council regards the present legal foundation and practice for granting export licences as appropriate to guarantee that Swiss business enterprises that manufacture or trade in war material will respect human rights.

5.7.5 Policy coherence

Guiding Principle 9 [page 31]

PI33 Consistency between free trade agreements and protection for human rights

The primary aim of free trade agreements is to foster bilateral economic relations, and to improve the economic capacity of the contracting States’ national economies. When negotiating free trade agreements (and investment protection agreements, see below), Switzerland, in the interests of policy coherence supports the inclusion of clauses requiring consistency with human rights, labour and environmental standards. One of the functions of such clauses is to underline the parties’ obligation to comply with the applicable multilateral environmental agreements and International Labour Organization conventions, and to implement them effectively. At the same time, they reference international instruments to protect human rights, and the principles of responsible corporate governance. A further clause in Swiss free trade agreements provides that they may not compromise or challenge existing international law –and therefore also human rights –obligations. When negotiating human rights, labour and environmental law aspects, the competent federal agencies are consulted in the same way as with all other questions. Free trade agreements, and thus also aspects of relevance to human rights, are monitored via consultation mechanisms, specifically joint committees.

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