Berlin process on Libya: Switzerland to co-chair working group on international humanitarian law and human rights

Press release, 23.06.2020

Switzerland has been given an important role in the search for a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis. Within the framework of the Berlin process, it will co-chair the working group on respect for international humanitarian law and human rights alongside the Netherlands and the United Nations. The Berlin process was launched in January 2020 to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Libya. This new mandate for Switzerland is consistent with its peace policy activities in Libya and furthers the objectives of its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23 in regard to peace and security.

In support of the UN peace process with Libyan parties, the Berlin process seeks to ensure international coherence in creating the conditions necessary for intra-Libyan dialogue on peace. An international follow-up committee was established to ensure implementation of the Berlin Conference conclusions. This committee comprises four working groups: security, political, economic, and international humanitarian law/international human rights law (IHL/IHRL).

The IHL/IHRL working group, co-chaired by Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UN, is mandated to promote greater respect for international humanitarian law and human rights by all parties in Libya. Specifically, it aims to protect the civilian population and infrastructure by safeguarding the medical mission, securing humanitarian access and ensuring that adequate measures are taken to protect civilians in Libya. 

Switzerland will work with the member states of the Berlin process to fulfil the IHL/IHRL working group's mandate. It also calls on all parties to support the efforts of Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams in the search for a political solution, as proposed in the Berlin Conference conclusions. 

As the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland has renowned expertise in international humanitarian law and human rights. Also, Switzerland has been active in Libya since 2011 through its peacebuilding and humanitarian aid as well as migration-related projects. It supports the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and humanitarian organisations operating around the country. Furthermore, Switzerland plays host to the intra-Libyan peace talks under the auspices of the UN.

Peace and security is also one of the Federal Council's priorities set out in its Foreign Policy Strategy 2020–23. This includes contributing to conflict resolution and the promotion of human rights. Moreover, as armed conflicts lead to forced displacement, the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts contributes to reducing irregular migration.


Further information:

Press release UNSMIL (United Nations Support Mission in Libya)


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Publisher:

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs