Switzerland has been an OSCE participating State since June 25, 1973.
Switzerland is a confederation situated in the heart of Europe, between Germany, France, Italy, and Austria and is a member of the Council of Europe. With a population of approximately 8 billion, and highly developed banking and technology sectors, its GDP per person is one of the highest in the world.
A traditionally multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country, Switzerland is 65 percent German, 18 percent French, 10 percent Italian, and 1 percent Romansch. According to 2010 figures, 72.7 percent of Swiss are Christian, 4.9 percent are Muslim, 20.9 percent are religiously unaffiliated, and 0.5 percent are Hindu or Buddhist. About 20,000 Jews live in Switzerland, making up 0.3% of the population.
Switzerland chaired the OSCE in 2014 has been the site of several OSCE and OSCE PA meetings. Priorities of the Swiss Chairmanship included prevention of torture, respect for human rights in the ‘war on terror’, respecting human rights of minorities, and the systematic inclusion of civil society into OSCE procedures. The Helsinki Commission held a hearing with the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in 2014. In 2009, Switzerland came under fire from members of the Helsinki Commission and the OSCE for its ban on constructing minarets on mosques and anti-Muslim and anti-migrant discrimination, including several legislative efforts.
Staff Contact: Paul Massaro, senior policy advisor