The popular uprisings at the beginning of 2011 suggested that millions of Egyptians had embraced concepts associated with human rights and democratic governance, raising the expectations for reform of the Egyptian state, and bringing a strong emphasis on the need for the emergence of a new social contract.
Switzerland’s support to the consequent democratic transition is focusing on the building of a participatory, inclusive and accountable state that is based on the respect of human rights and the rule of law. The respective engagement is strictly demand-driven and developed in a spirit of dialogue and partnership. Priorities, activities and modes of intervention are developed jointly with local partners and based on a thorough assessment and analysis of specific needs.
Acknowledging that political transitions can be characterized by numerous ups and downs the Swiss activities are based on a long-term perspective supporting the necessary structural and social changes over the longer term and in a targeted manner regardless of short-term political dynamics.
The respective Swiss engagement, of which gender mainstreaming is an integral part, is implemented in a coordinated, coherent and complementary manner by the various units of the Swiss government; the FDFA’s Directorate of Political Affairs (PD), Directorate of Public International Law (DPIL), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Switzerland’s support of the democratic transition and compliance with human rights consists of the following lines of activity:
Elections, democratic participation, and human rights:
- Support the organization and observation of elections and provide technical support for the definition of an election framework (PD, SDC)
- Strengthen the capacity of diverse civil society organizations to undertake professional, objective and independent domestic election observation (SDC.)
- Support inclusive dialogue processes and platforms to facilitate and mediate political dialogues based on participatory analyses of underlying tensions and conflicts (PD)
- Strengthen local dialogue and conflict transformation capacities and mechanisms for the prevention of violence (PD)
- Support inclusive democratic participation and the realisation of the principles of equality and citizenship with a special focus on women and youth (SDC, PD)
- Support organizations in the defense of human rights, particularly in the prevention of torture (based on documentation, awareness raising, capacity building, advocacy in view of adapted legislation) and the legal and psychological support to torture victims (PD)
Recovery of illicit assets and efforts to combat corruption:
- Technical assistance and focused support of the concerned authorities, in the framework of legal assistance, with a view to the possible recovery of any illicit assets deposited in Switzerland (DPIL, PD)
- Training of judges at the court of appeals on how to deal with cases of high level of corruption (SDC)
Constitutional and legal reform, reinforcement of state capacities:
- Support exchange and dialogue forums with the purpose of formulating concrete recommendations and drafting new laws (PD)
- Identify and test avenues of meaningful support to the parliament by providing technical expertise, for example in areas such as administrative and political decentralization (SDC, PD)
- In-depth assessment: define the key challenges of the governance system in the Governorate of Aswan; identify possible entry points and lines of action for reinforcing local governance (SDC, in preparation)
Dealing with the past and transitional justice:
- Various initiatives on dealing with the past and on the fight against impunity (right of victims to know, right to justice, to reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence), notably awareness raising and capacity building of concerned stakeholders as well as protection of archives (PD, in preparation)