As early as 1945 the Swiss realized that the importance of the United Nations. However the Allies were not ready at that time to accept Switzerland’s extreme neutral position. It was decided therefore that rather than applying for membership the country would follow closely the activities of the UN as an observer, while at the same time becoming
a member of the International Court of Justice and of the specialized agencies and that, because Geneva was already the site of the former League of Nations, it would ease the accommodation of the United Nations and other large international organizations within Switzerland according to the web page ‘Permanent Observer Mission’. This was a relationship that would develop over the succeeding years which led in 1998 to a Committee of Swiss parliamentarians and citizens presenting a project to launch an initiative for the Swiss membership in the United Nations and later to its membership in 2002.
Switzerland has of course a long history of neutrality which it has maintained over centuries. This policy has meant that its citizens have been protected from the horrors and difficulties that war situations bring, but at the same time it has meant that the Swiss have had to sit back from situations that they might not agree with such as the holocaust. This does not of course mean that the Swiss are not concerned about human rights, which is why in 2006, after a Swiss initiative, the United Nations formed a Human Rights Commission as a result of the M+5 summit meeting as described in the document Switzerland and the U. N. , the 2006 Report of the Federal Council.
The commission began in June 2006. The commission is an advisory body with the important task of bringing together all sides in order to produce integrated peacemaking policies. For instance, as reported on page 19 there is a report of how, under the leadership of Switzerland a group of states have come to an agreement about a way of tracing small arms . On page 59 of the report Switzerland’s priorities are outlined.
These include the fact that , though not a member of the Security Council, Switzerland will work to see that its resolutions are implemented, will play a role in the promotion of sustainable development projects and will seek to make the General Assembly more efficient as a body. Joining the United Nations of course means that Switzerland makes a large financial contribution to the group. It therefore feels that it is important to see that funds are utilized in the best way possible.
On page 16 of the report the right to protect is headlined, criticizing the non-action of the international community in such places as Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. In its Foreign Policy report of 2000 its opening paragraphs discuss the globalization of the world, especially since the fall of the Soviet block. The conclusion reached is that this makes differences between various peoples more, rather than less, obvious, and that this will inevitably lead to tensions. The belief expressed is that:- The United Nations are the only available universal framework for the discussion and resolution of global problems which includes all states.
There had been a referendum in 1986 about joining the United Nations which was defeated by 3 to 1 majority, yet in March 2002 this situation was reversed as reported in the Harvard International Review of September 2002. the decision was applauded by the nations of Europe. Jack Straw , then Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom said:- This historic decision puts one of Europe's oldest democracies where she belongs _ at the heart of global decision-making. Electronic Sources Foreign Policy Report, Safeguarding Switzerland’s Interests in an Integrating World retrieved 3rd December 2008 from https://www.highbeam.com/