Military peace support since 1953

Camp Bir Lahou in the Western Sahara.
The Swiss Armed Forces have been engaged in peace support operations since their deployment of military observers to the Western Sahara in 2014.

The hour of birth of Swiss military peace support was in 1953 when the Federal Council sent 146 armed military personnel to Korea to participate in the two commissions Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission in Korea) and NNSC (Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea). The NNRC interrupted its work again by the end of February 1954 as it had accomplished its mission of conducting and completing the exchange of prisoners. The NNSC still exists today, however with a different mandate, and is supported by the Swiss Armed Forces with five officers in Panmunjeom.

Unarmed Swiss military observers have been deployed since 1990. There are currently Swiss officers as military observers and liaison officers (these two functions being summarised under the term ‘UN Military Expert on Mission’) as well as staff officers involved in peace support operations in the following countries: 13 in the Middle East (UNTSO), 2 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), 1 in South Sudan (UNMISS), 5 in Mali (MINUSMA), 3 in Kashmir (UNMOGIP) and 2 in Western-Sahara (MINURSO). As extended arm of the UN Security Council on location they make an important contribution to peace in these areas of conflict.

Furthermore, the Swiss Armed Forces have been participating in the KOSOVO peace mission KFOR since 1999 on the basis of UN Resolution 1244 and the decision of the Federal Council of 23 June 1999. This mandate was limited by parliament to terminate by the end of 2020. SWISSCOY is composed of up to 190 volunteers who are armed for self-protection and includes the following elements: JRD North, four LMT (liaison and monitoring teams), national support element (national logistic tasks and bi-national services), medical team, military police (multi- and national) as well as one EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team. In addition, KFOR has at its disposal an air transport detachment with two helicopters, one serving as a technical reserve.

Since the end of November 2004, Switzerland has been participating in the EUFOR ALTHEA mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 16 officers and non-commissioned officers currently form two what are known as liaison and observation teams (LOT) in Mostar and Trebinje. In addition four staff officers are working at the LOT Coordination Center (LCC) and at EUFOR headquarters in camp Butmir in Sarajevo. In June 2011, Switzerland expanded its support of EUFOR to include a Mobile Training Team (MTT). Within this multinational team of experts, six specialists for small weapons, ammunition and languages are instructing the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina in ammunition and weapons storage management. In every case, they are on location for temporally limited, specific training sequences.

With regard to humanitarian demining Swiss nationals are working in various functions in Southern-Sudan (2), DR Congo (6), Western-Sahara (2) and in Tunisia (1). As logistical or technical consultants for instance or as IMSMA specialist.

New York is the base for three Swiss in UNOPS (UN Office for Project Services). In addition, the Swiss Armed Forces are supporting the headquarters in Vienna of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with four people.

Other officers are working in the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Ghana (3) and in the im International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya (3). 

Swiss nationals are involved in peace support operations in the countries and regions marked in blue.
Swiss nationals are involved in peace support operations in the countries and regions marked in blue.

Swiss Armed Forces International Command SWISSINT

International peace-keeping is one of the three missions of the Swiss Armed Forces and as such is laid down in the Swiss Military Act. This mission is carried out by Swiss Armed Forces International Command SWISSINT located in Stans-Oberdorf.

Further information on SWISSINT