Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Switzerland (CPRD 13 April 2022)

1. The Committee considered the initial report of Switzerland1 at its 563rd, 565th and 567th meetings, held in a hybrid format on 14, 15 and 16 March 2022. It adopted the present concluding observations at its 577th meeting, held in a hybrid mode on 23 March 2022.

2. The Committee welcomes the initial report of Switzerland, which was prepared in accordance with the Committee’s reporting guidelines, and thanks the State party for its written replies to the list of issues prepared by the Committee.

3. The Committee commends the State party for its agreement to have its initial report reviewed in hybrid format, given the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The Committee appreciates the fruitful and sincere dialogue held with the State party’s delegation, in Geneva and online from the capital, which was diverse and multisectoral and included representatives of the relevant government ministries.

Concluding observations on the initial report of Switzerland

III. Principal areas of concern and recommendations

A. General principles and obligations (arts. 1–4)

9. The Committee notes with concern:

(a) The lack of involvement of persons with disabilities through their representative organizations, including diverse organizations of persons with disabilities, in decision-making processes concerning laws, policies and programmes, including in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals;

(b) The lack of financial and other resources available to the diversity of organizations of persons with disabilities to promote the effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society;

(c) The lack of accessibility of information about public policy and decisionmaking processes, and limited opportunities to participate at all stages of these processes.

10. Recalling its general comment No. 7 (2018), the Committee recommends that the
State party:

(a) Strengthen mechanisms at the federal, cantonal and municipal levels to ensure effective support and consultations with diverse organizations of persons with disabilities – including organizations of persons with intellectual disabilities, autistic persons, persons with psychosocial disabilities, women with disabilities, children with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities – in design, reporting and monitoring with respect to legislation and policies aimed at implementing the Convention and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals;

(b) Ensure that adequate financial and other necessary resources are available for the diversity of organizations of persons with disabilities, and that such
organizations have access to independent and self-managed funding to strengthen their capacity to independently promote the effective participation of persons with disabilities and their inclusion in society;

(c) Provide organizations of persons with disabilities with accessible information, including information in Easy Read and sign languages, and ensure an adequate time frame for their participation at all stages of legislative, policy and decision-making processes.

B. Specific rights (arts. 5–30)

Protecting the integrity of the person (art. 17)

35. The Committee notes with concern:

(a) That persons over 16 years of age deemed “incapable of discernment” can be sterilized under legal provisions that authorize sterilisation procedures; and the lack of data on and redress for such procedures;

(b) The lack of uniform cantonal protection against the practice of “packing” that is applied to autistic children, whereby the child is wrapped in cold, wet sheets;

(c) That intersex persons can be subjected to unnecessary and irreversible medical and/or surgical interventions, including during infancy or childhood; and that there is a lack of ongoing health care, psychosocial support and social reintegration for intersex persons who have been subjected to intersex genital mutilation and a lack of access to redress.

36. The Committee recommends that the State party: 

(a) Prohibit the sterilization of persons with disabilities without their consent, repeal legal provisions that allow substituted consent by third parties for sterilization procedures, collect disaggregated data on sterilization procedures, and take measures to provide redress and support to persons with disabilities who are victims of forced sterilization;

(b) Prohibit in all cantons the practice of “packing” children, and take measures ensure the recovery of and redress for children who have been subjected to such treatment;

(c) Adopt clear legislative provisions that explicitly prohibit the performance of unnecessary and irreversible medical interventions, including surgical, hormonal or other medical procedures, on intersex infants and children; provide adequate counselling and support for families of intersex children; extend the statute of limitations to enable criminal and civil remedies; and provide health care and psychosocial support to intersex persons who have been subjected to intersex genital mutilation.

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