Peace promotion credit accepted
Parliament has approved a SFr240 million ($231 million) credit for civilian peace promotion and the reinforcement of human rights.
The House of Representatives confirmed on Tuesday an earlier decision by the Senate, rejecting attempts by the rightwing Swiss People's Party to have the four-year credit reviewed by the government.
Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said that promoting peace and reinforcing human rights were at the heart of Swiss foreign policy. Eighty per cent of the funds will be used in six regions, while the remainder will go to pilot projects.
But parliamentarians refused to increase the credit to SFr260 million, as proposed by the House's foreign affairs committee.
The extra SFr20 million would have helped boost Switzerland's humanitarian aid contribution to 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product, up from 0.37 per cent.
This would still have been well short of Switzerland's commitment under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals – to increase humanitarian aid to 0.7 per cent by 2015.
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