Interlaken Conference: Switzerland spurs the reform of the European Court of Human Rights

Bern, Press release, 10.02.2010

The Ministerial Conference planned by Switzerland for Thursday and Friday of next week, 18 and 19 February, in Interlaken aims at decisively encouraging the reform of the chronically overburdened European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In this way Switzerland confirms its traditional commitment to protect human rights and ensures in the long term the future of the ECHR.

The Swiss delegation at the Ministerial Conference will be lead by Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), and by Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP). Switzerland wishes the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe to issue a joint declaration, in which they confirm their commitment to the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and to the implementation of effective mechanisms to protect such rights at national level. In addition, the Member States are called to support the ECHR in enhancing its efficiency in the short term within the framework of the existing legal provisions (i.e. without modifying the European Convention on Human Rights). Finally, the Ministerial Conference shall determine the course for a middle and long term reform of the ECHR – if necessary envisaging adjustments of the European Convention on Human Rights –, in order to secure the future implementation of human rights in Europe. 

The Ministerial Conference in Interlaken is a key event of the six-month chairmanship of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, which Switzerland took over on 18 November 2009. 

For further information:
Frank Schürmann, Federal Office of Justice, tel. +41 31 322 41 50
Paul Seger, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, tel. +41 31 322 30 61

Further information:

special webpage Council of Europe

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Federal Departement of Justice and Police