In this video, starting at about 28:40, Dr. Astrid Stuckelberger says

Even the constitution of Switzerland there is a little line they have added without asking us, which says that international law supercedes national law in the health matters.

This seems strange in two aspects. First, as far as I know, it is not possible to add lines to the Swiss constitution without a referendum. Second, the contents of such law seems contrary to the Swiss principle of democracy.

Question: is there a line in the Swiss constitution, or elsewhere in Swiss law, that implies that international law supercedes national law in health matters?

  • 4
    Can you add a bit of background on who Astrid Stuckelberger is? The linked webpage gives her CV but does she have any political power or some official advisory role? Or is this just the personal opinion of some random public health researcher?
    – quarague
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 11:45
  • 4
    For the Swiss constitution itself, this seems a pretty clear No. The only plausible reference to "health matters" is Article 118, which says that the Confederation shall take measures for the protection of health and legislate in certain related areas. There is also Article 197, saying that Switzerland shall accede to the UN and accept the obligations of the UN charter, but the latter also doesn't appear to have anything relevant about health matters. Commented May 22, 2022 at 18:27
  • 7
    Astrid Stuckelberger seems to be really popular with the anti-vaxx crowd and people who think that Bill Gates is the root of all evil. Her Google scholar profile shows that the research she has published is mostly concerned with ageing (from both medical and social viewpoints). Her h index is 16, which I would consider rather unimpressive for somebody who claims to have been in medical research for 30 years. What I‘m trying to say: I‘m not sure this is a notable claim.
    – DocM
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 19:03
  • 4
    @NateEldredge In some countries, international treaties take precedence over ordinary law, in the sense that if a government does not abide by a treaty that it has signed, there is a legal recourse within the country's own judicial system (not necessarily as simple as directly allowing any judge to apply treaty provisions). If this is the case in Switzerland, and Switzerland has ratified a treaty related to health, then indeed some form of “international health law” would supersede national law in some health matters, and this would not require a mention of health in the constitution. Commented May 22, 2022 at 19:19
  • 8
    @DocM: On Skeptics.SE, notability is not the same as veracity. Notability means many people believe it (or as a proxy, many people have been exposed to it). Asking questions about widely-held claims from unreliable sources is our bread-and-butter.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 4:44


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