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To: Bundesrat

Petition for the release of hostages: Together for humanity

The signatories of the petition demand

Petition to the Federal Council regarding the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, particularly in connection with the hostages held there.

Point 1: Increased Swiss participation in the UN Security Council:

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Switzerland plays a mediating role and actively advocates for human rights. It also promotes transparency, accountability and the inclusion of non-members in the work of the Council. Switzerland has a unique opportunity to coordinate veto powers and leverage its neutral position in this complex political environment. A move in the UN Security Council to address the situation of missing persons (hostages) in the Gaza Strip in conjunction with other relevant aspects such as condemnation of Hamas' terrorist acts, recognition of Israel's right to self-defense and compliance with international humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip is of the utmost relevance and should be take the form of a resolution that is binding under international law.

Point 2: Active role as depositary state of the Geneva Convention:

Switzerland acts as a depositary state of the Geneva Conventions in an essential function by ensuring the protection and support of hostages. This includes granting access to the hostages, providing humanitarian assistance, ensuring medical care and facilitating contact with their relatives. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has already expressed its willingness to implement these measures on its website.

Point 3: Budget for hostage situation:

At its meeting on November 1, 2023, the Federal Council decided to submit to Parliament a request for additional funds of 90 million Swiss francs for humanitarian aid in Israel, Gaza and neighboring countries (see below). The Federal Council should expressly state that part of this budget, for example from the ICRC's funds (15 million), must be used to free the held hostages. To ensure transparency, it is necessary to list how these funds are being used for the hostage situation. If necessary, the Federal Council is commissioned to subsequently request this addendum in Parliament. This is not about increasing the total amount (the 90 million remains unchanged), but rather about creating a special fund within the budget for the hostage situation.

Point 4: Offer of brokerage services

In the past, Switzerland has successfully acted as a mediator and negotiating partner in complex international situations. It is crucial that Switzerland uses all available options and resources to act as a mediator for the release of the hostages. Regardless of the conclusions of the task force (TFNO) and the Federal Council's handling of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization and its possible effects, it is of the utmost importance that Switzerland falls back on its tried and tested "good offices". The Federal Council is called upon to explore all possible avenues, to fulfill its historic role as mediator and to actively use its diplomatic resources to take advantage of the "good offices" in Gaza and to achieve the safe release of all hostages.



Why is this important?

It is crucial to advocate for human rights and humanitarian principles at the international level. Switzerland's role in the UN Security Council offers the opportunity to exert a positive influence and promote transparency, accountability and inclusion.

As a depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, Switzerland plays a crucial role in ensuring the protection and assistance of hostages, which is a fundamental humanitarian concern.

Additionally, allocating a budget for the hostage situation demonstrates a commitment to addressing this urgent issue and using financial resources effectively.

Finally, the provision of mediation services is a tangible way to contribute to conflict resolution and the safe release of hostages, which is of great importance to promote peace and security in the region.

All of these aspects are about upholding humanitarian values, promoting peace and ensuring that the voices of those affected are heard and taken into account.

Further sources and information:
Human Rights Guidelines 2021-2024

A Plus For Peace

Third (3) and Fourth (4) Geneva Conventions concerning the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Protection of Civilians in Time of War

ICRC press release on hostages in Gaza

Federal Council press release from November 1, 2023

Task force TFNO


2023-11-17 09:22:34 +0100

25 signatures reached

2023-11-13 17:31:58 +0100

10 signatures reached