Parliament moves to redefine rape

Last month, left-wing parties and women's groups last handed in a petition urging parliament to approve the affirmative consent proposal. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Amnesty International has welcomed a decision by one chamber of the Swiss parliament to redefine rape as sex without consent.

This content was published on December 6, 2022 minutes

The organisation said the decision by the House of Representatives was a crucial step to protect victims against sexual violence and showed that parliamentarians from several political parties wanted to enshrine a changed attitude in law.

The house approved the so-called "yes means yes"-principle with a slim majority, notably from left-wing and centrist parties.

During the five-hour debate Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter argued the affirmative consent proposal was raising false hopes for victims of violence.

Amnesty called on the other parliamentary chamber, the Senate, to follow the house.

In September, the Senate came out in favour of a legal reform which would mean a sexual act could be prosecuted if one participant clearly expressed opposition, but were ignored by the other person(s).

Discussions on the reform of the criminal law are due to continue in parliament next year.

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