Protecting fundamental rights: what possibilities for Canton Ticino?


Institutional Communication Service

5 December 2022

In celebration of World Human Rights Day, Università della Svizzera italiana will host a public conference organised by the Human Rights Foundation in collaboration with the USI Law Institute and other associations to discuss the protection of fundamental rights in a federalist state like Switzerland. The event will be held on Saturday, 10 December, from 8:30 am to 1 p. in the West Campus Lugano Auditorium.

When the parliament ratifies an international convention for the protection of certain fundamental rights, supervision of its implementation is entrusted to the courts. However, the most vulnerable people in need of protection lack the financial means and expertise to turn to the courts, all the more so if they have to embark on a journey that can take several years. Therefore, improving the protection of fundamental rights requires anchoring its principles in society and holding the population and public institutions accountable. This implies a general review of cantonal regulations and practices applied by cantonal and municipal offices. And this is where federalism can come to the rescue: ideally, the various cantons develop innovative approaches to implementing Human Rights, experiment with them and inspire other cantons.

In this regard, an interesting model is that of periodic review, whereby cantons would be able to evaluate each other's implementation of Human Rights along the lines of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) model introduced by the United Nations General Assembly to help disseminate "good practices" and trigger learning processes. Could this approach be advantageously applied in the Swiss federal state?


8.30 Registration of participants

9.00 Opening remarks by:

  • Federica De Rossa, Associate Professor and Director of the IDUSI Law Institute, USI
  • Paolo Bernasconi, Prof. Dr. h.c. Human Rights Foundation

9.15 The Ticino model: cantonal programme on children's rights

  • Raffaele De Rosa, Director of the Department of Health and Social Affairs

9.45 What is EPU (Universal Periodic Review)? The importance of the EPU process

  • Milena Costas Trascasas, researcher at the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights

10:15 Coffee Break

10:45 Practical example of the cantonal EPU process Canton Geneva

  • Léa Winter, Fian Suisse NGO Platform Human and member of the Canton Geneva EPU working group

11.10 International obligations and local empowerment

  • Greta Gysin, Zero Point Association

11.30 Roundtable ~ With Q&A session. Universal Periodic Examination: What possibilities for Canton Ticino?

  • Bruno Balestra, United by Law Association
  • Alicia Giraudel, Amnesty International Swiss Section
  • Marco Galli, head of the Office of Support for Family and Youth Organizations and Activities (DSS)
  • Lara Bedolla, Vice-President Association of Consumers of Southern Switzerland - ACSI
  • Ilario Lodi, Director Pro Juventute Southern Switzerland

12:30 Conclusion and Perspectives