The achievements of the STP

The Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland is committed, long-term and goal-oriented. Here are a few examples of our successes.

Nara Baré in Genf Nara Baré in Genf


Tupinambá submit application for recognition of their territory

In March, the Tupinambá indigenous community submitted a report to the Brazilian indigenous authority FUNAI to have their territory recognised as "Terra Indígena". The report documents the community's historical claim to their territory and shows their connection to the region on the lower course of the Tapajós River. The report was preceded by a demarcation process in which the Tupinambá collected geographical data about their territory. The STP supported the Tupinambá with a crowdfunding campaign to finance this extensive project.

Indigenous activists criticise expert mechanism for the influence of propaganda on UN studies on the human rights situation in Russia

Together with activists from the exile organisation ICIPR, the STP submitted a report on the human rights situation in Russia to the UN Human Rights Council. The delegation also visited the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in Geneva, where the activists took a clear stand against the influence of Russian propaganda on EMRIP studies on Russia.

STP launches new programme for indigenous rights in the green transition

With «Climate Justice! Respect Indigenous Consent!», the STP is launching a new programme that focuses on indigenous rights in the energy transition. Time and again, renewable energy projects are built on indigenous land and without the consent of the affected communities. This threatens to continue the destruction of indigenous land and the displacement of indigenous communities in the name of the energy transition. With the new programme, the STP wants to hold states and companies in the green economy to account so that they finally respect and guarantee the rights of indigenous communities.

Federal Court rules on transparency in the Swiss gold industry.

After years of official proceedings, the Federal Court ruled in November against the STP's demand that Swiss refineries must disclose their gold suppliers. This was despite further reports in 2023 that dirty gold from Russia and Sudan was being channelled to Switzerland via dubious suppliers. Despite the negative ruling, taking the matter to court was worthwhile: the case brought the Swiss gold industry into the public eye and put pressure on refineries to become more transparent themselves.


Research “UBS co-finances controversial agribusinesses”

The STP revealed how UBS, through its Brazilian investment bank, has provided two agricultural corporations with money from global investors. Both companies are involved in illegal deforestation, environmental destruction and human rights violations. With a report, a web story and an explanatory video, the STP was able to make this accessible to the public and contribute to the broader discussion on corporate responsibility.

Uyghur survivors of the detention camps give testimony

At the invitation of the STP, the two Uyghurs Gulbahar Jalilova and Gulbahar Haitiwaji visited Switzerland. They spoke at several panels about the situation of the Uyghurs in East Turkestan and called on politicians and civil society to take action. Their statements and demands were picked up in several high-circulation newspapers in Switzerland.

Indigenous people speak in Geneva about human rights in Russia

Some of the STP's partners were forced to leave Russia due to increasing state repression. By founding the exile organization "International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia" (ICIPR), they are now also campaigning for indigenous rights in Russia from their exile. This was also the case in Geneva, where they spoke at a panel organized by the STP together with the ICIPR. The panel functioned as a public side event to the session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), where several STP partners spoke about indigenous rights in Russia.

Gold industry speaks out for the rights of Indigenous peoples

Following the visit of a delegation from the Brazilian Amazon, five major gold refiners and the Swiss Association of Manufacturers and Traders in Precious Metals released a landmark statement: they condemned illegal mining and advocated that indigenous and local communities must have a say in projects.


Complaint by the STP at the National Contact Point of Switzerland

Norways Supreme Court ruled that the Fosen windfarm is illegal because it threatens the Sami’s way of living and their reindeer herding. The involved Bern-based energy company BKW agreed to respect indigenous rights from now on. Starting point was a complaint by STP filed at the National Contact Point of Switzerland and the subsequent mediation process with BKW. Since the court ruling, STP demands that rhetoric is turned into action and the windfarm will consequently be dismantled.

Award-winning STP film "Threatened Tapajós"

The STP-produced movie “Threatened Tapajós” directed by Thomaz Pedro was met with enthusiasm at film festivals and has won several accolades. It shows the perspective of indigenous people, whose environment is threatened by infrastructure projects. These projects do mainly push ahead the exploitation of the region. Further, a report by STP clarifies who is affected and which Swiss financial institutions are allegedly involved.

Pressure on National Council shows success

In 2018, STP and swiss-based Tibetan Organisations brought in a petition together, centered around the demand for more protection of Tibetan people in Switzerland. The pressure on politics was successful and the National Council supports the foray: now the Federal Council has to make a report on the situation of Tibetan people in Switzerland and finally evaluate its human rights dialogue with China.


Credit Suisse complies with a demand by Sami communities

Credit Suisse complies with a demand by Sami communities and the STP, terminating its business relationship with the mine operator Nussir ASA. The mining company plans to operate two copper mines on the Repparfjord in northern Norway.

Kazakh survivor of a Chinese forced labor camp gives testimony

Ethnic Kazakh Sayragul Sauytbay travels to Switzerland for a panel discussion as well as for talks with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) and with members of parliament. On International Human Rights Day, Sauytbay, the Uyghur and Tibetan communities, Campax and the STP hold a vigil to demand a revision of Switzerland’s China policy.

GfbV mobilizes for the Corporate Responsibility Initiative

The STP contributes to the broad mobilisation of the population in the campaign for the Corporate Responsibility Initiative. Despite disappointment over the initiative being rejected due to the majority of the cantons, it is gratifying that the broad discussion over the years has led to changing attitudes among the population.

GfbV publishes human rights handbook for Indigenous communities

A new handbook by the STP provides indigenous peoples with an overview of existing international legal instruments and is intended to serve as a basis for civic education workshops in Brazil.

SPM and Tibetan organizations submit petition

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council followed a petition by Tibet organisations and the STP by issuing two postulates. These now require a detailed report from the Federal Council on the situation of Tibetans in Switzerland and an evaluation of the human rights dialogue with China.

The Uyghur Association of Switzerland, Campax and the STP submit a petition

Together with over 23,000 signatories, the Uyghur Association of Switzerland, Campax and the STP submit a petition to the Federal Council demanding the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement with China.

Presence at the national camp climat

During the national climate camp in the federal square, the STP raises awareness of indigenous rights in connection with the energy transition, focusing on the Sami as a case study.

STP supports Corona emergency fund for Indigenous communities in Brazil

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, the STP contributed financially to a coronavirus emergency fund run by the Brazilian indigenous umbrella organisation APIB and supported the Tupinambá and Mundurukú communities in the demarcation of their lands.

Yanomami leader speaks at UN about Brazil's uncontacted communities

The STP accompanies Davi Kopenawa Yanomami to the UN headquarters in Geneva, where he speaks of the multi-faceted threats Brazil’s uncontacted communities are facing.

Bernese voters say Yes to a transit site for travellers

Bernese voters say Yes to the credit for a transit site in Wileroltigen. The new transit site will help to reduce pressure due to the lack of space for foreign travellers in Switzerland.


Bernese High Court sentences JSVP politicians for racism

The Bernese High Court confirms the conviction of the co-presidents of the JSVP (Junge Schweizerische Volkspartei/Young Swiss People’s Party) for violating criminal law against racial discrimination. The reason for the lawsuit was a post on the Facebook page of the JSVP that discriminated against Roma and Sinti. The STP supported the lawsuit.

Brazilian delegation highlights dangers to Indigenous communities from Bolsonaro and free trade

The STP accompanies an indigenous delegation of more than 10 people from Brazil in Switzerland. The aim of the delegation is to draw attention to the situation of indigenous people in Brazil under President Bolsonaro and to warn of the possible consequences of a free trade agreement with the Mercosur states.

Credit Suisse intends to take Indigenous Rights into account

Following a mediation procedure between the STP and Credit Suisse, the bank commits itself to incorporating indigenous rights into its internal policies on project financing.

Swiss gold refiner Metalor withdraws from artisanal mining

Metalor - one of the world's largest gold refineries based in Neuchâtel - announces its withdrawal from artisanal mining. The STP welcomes this step as a short-term solution. In the long term, however, better conditions in gold mining are necessary for the many people who depend on artisanal mining for their survival, as for example in Colombia and Peru.

Peru's judiciary suspects ex-supplier of Metalor of illegal activities

The Peruvian public prosecutor’s office suspects a former supplier to the Swiss refinery Metalor of money laundering and illegal gold mining. A year earlier, the STP had pointed out questionable gold imports from Peru to Switzerland.

The STP count 17 000 members

Together for threatened communities and minorities: The STP now has around 17,000 members. Thank you for your loyal support!

Success for STP's request: Swiss Federal Customs Administration (EZV) wants to grant access to gold trade statistics

After the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner’ data protection and public relations officer supported the STP’s request for access to detailed statistics on the gold trade, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (EZV) also agrees to grant the request. The gold refineries file an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court.


Sami and GfbV protest against wind power plant in front of BKW headquarters

The STP protests with delegates of the Norwegian Sami in front of the Bernese BKW. Together with a consortium of the CS bank and other donors, BKW is involved in the financing of a wind power plant that threatens the way of life of Indigenous Sami.

Federal data protector agrees with GfbV: Customs must give insight into Swiss gold trade

The Data Protection and Public Relations Officer calls on the Federal Customs Administration to comply with the STP's demand and provide detailed insight into gold transactions. Transparency would be an important step towards finally obtaining more clarity about the origin and mining conditions of gold processed in Switzerland. The recommendation is a small sensation. The refineries are incorrigible: They announced an appeal against it.

The STP and Tibet organizations present a petition for the rights of Tibetans in Switzerland

Together with Tibet organisations, the STP presents the Federal Council with a petition for the rights of Tibetans in Switzerland. More than 11,000 people signed the petition and call on the Federal Council and parliament to do more to promote human rights in Tibet.

Association Sinti and Roma Switzerland and GfbV promote successful dialogue

In the summer of 2018, over 1500 caravans of travelling Roma were on the road in Switzerland. Thanks to the project initiated by the STP and the Sinti and Roma Switzerland Association to mediate between travelling Roma, landowners and authorities, conflicts could be avoided and a positive summer balance drawn.

Gold imports from UAE collapse after revelatory GfbV report

Following the publication of a STP report on dubious gold from the United Arab Emirates, exports to Switzerland fell sharply. While the Emirates were still Switzerland's largest gold supplier in January 2018 with over 21 tonnes of gold, six months later not a single gram was imported from this country.

Successful protest: Population allowed to return to Sri Lankan island

For years, the Sri Lankan Navy occupied the small island of Iranaitivu as a military base. The population tirelessly protested for a return to their beloved island, supported by the STP. With success: In the middle of May the people finally got the right to return to the island. As a result, the people can fish again, collect seafood and thus have access to a secure source of income.

GfbV gold report leads to improvements

In its gold report, the STP criticized the trade relations between Metalor and the Peruvian supplier Minerales del Sur. Not only the STP, but also the Peruvian government wants to put an end to money laundering and illegal gold production. In March the Peruvian customs authorities confiscated 91.42 kg of gold from the controversial supplier Minerales del Sur, which was destined for the Swiss refinery Metalor, and stopped the exports of this company. Meanwhile, Metalor has banned the most controversial gold suppliers in Peru as customers - hopefully forever.


OECD accepts complaint against Credit Suisse over oil pipeline through Sioux Land

The National Contact Point (NCP) of the OECD processed the appeal against Credit Suisse, filed by the STP in April. The Swiss bank had participated significantly in financing the construction firms of the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline, which passes through the indigenous reserve of Standing Rock and thereby creates huge risks of water pollution for the local Sioux.

Peruvian smallholder acquitted in legal dispute with gold producer

After a long-running dispute over her land rights, the indigenous smallholder Máxima Acuña de Chaupe was acquitted. The biggest mining company of Peru, Yanacocha S.R.L., had accused her of land grabbing and had used violence against Máxima. The STP supported the activist in her combat against the gold giant.

STP supports people affected by land grabbing in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the STP informed people affected by land grabbing about their rights. Approximately 50 participants from different regions and ethnic groups adopted their common demands directed towards the government in the “Nallur Declaration”.


Confederation takes first step after STP demands for Yenish, Sinti and Roma

A first draft of the "Action Plan Yenish, Sinti und Roma" is available. The STP had asked the Confederation to improve the situation of these three minorities in Switzerland with targeted measures.

UBS and CS participation in pipeline project triggers protests and investigations

The STP drew attention to the fact that the two Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are playing a major role in funding the construction of the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline in the US. This triggered numerous protest campaigns and further research by Greenpeace in Switzerland.

STP and partner organisations launch online archive on Chechen war crimes

The Chechen Archive went online thanks to the cooperation of the STP, PeaceWomen Across the Globe and Reporters Without Borders. It is the most important video archive of the two wars in Chechnya and serves the legal processing of the war crimes.

Previous successes

STP research shows effect: Metalor stops gold purchases from Peru

In late 2013, the Swiss gold refinery Metalor stopped the purchase of gold from two producers who purchased gold from the highly problematic Madre de Dios region. And in spring 2016, Yanacocha, the largest goldmine in South America, withdrew from the planned Conga project, against which the local population fiercely resisted. In several reports, the STP drew attention to the human rights violations committed by this company and supported the indigenous movement.

Torture after forced returns to Sri Lanka exposed

The STP revealed in a report that several Tamils who had been forced back to Sri Lanka had been arrested and tortured upon their arrival. For almost a year, no more people were forced back under compulsion, and even today the practice is strict.

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