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The peaceful coexistence of nations is one of the five goals of Swiss foreign policy. In this connection the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is committed to:
- the prevention of armed violence
- conflict resolution
- peace consolidation
The communiqué on the framework loan for action on civilian conflict handling and the advancement of human rights explains the goals and methods of Switzerland's peace building policy.
The FDFA supports the processes of conflict transformation, in the political, diplomatic and civilian spheres, with practical and administrative expertise and financial contributions. The purpose of the policy is to deal with conflicting interests not with violence but by peaceful means, and to find lasting, socially acceptable solutions.
The FDFA works in a number of ways to defuse tensions:
- It sends experts who monitor on the ground whether elections are taking place along democratic lines or whether human rights are being respected. They apply their skills and abilities to develop a civil society and make themselves available to the United Nations (UNO) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for limited-term assignments.
- It runs programmes in civilian conflict handling in various conflict regions of the world (the Balkans, Middle East, the Great Lakes region of Africa, Colombia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sudan). These programmes comprise individual, coordinated projects and expert assignments. They typically seek to bring understanding between conflict parties, to create independent media, clear landmines, provide training in matters relating to human rights and democratic structures, or to reintegrate soldiers into civilian life.
- It launches and supports diplomatic initiatives in various fields such as the one on armed violence and development (Geneva Declaration).
- It maintains a wide network of partnerships with international organizations, like-minded states and partners in the scientific and economic sectors. These partnerships assist Switzerland in making an effective contribution to peace policy.