UN Human Rights Council: Switzerland welcomes the objectives of the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Bern, Press release, 26.09.2014

Geneva, 26.09.2014 – The Human Rights Council today ends its three-week autumn session, which opened on 8 September 2014 with the first appearance of the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan. Switzerland used this first meeting with the High Commissioner to inform him of its priorities in the Human Rights Council and to assure him of its support. Switzerland welcomes the fact that the High Commissioner's objectives largely correspond to its own. The Human Rights Council yesterday adopted a resolution tabled by Switzerland on dealing with the past.

Like the High Commissioner, Switzerland attaches the utmost importance to the proper functioning of UN human rights bodies and mechanisms – for example, the work of independent experts, special rapporteurs and commissions of inquiry that report on problematic human rights situations and investigate crimes. In particular, Switzerland welcomes the fact that the High Commissioner places the fight against impunity and strengthening the role and independence of civil society high on his agenda. Switzerland will continue its efforts to ensure that those responsible for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law are held to account.

Together with Argentina and Morocco, Switzerland initiated the creation of the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. The Human Rights Council yesterday extended this mandate by three years at Switzerland's request. More than 80 states explicitly supported its extension.During restoration of the rule of law and lasting peace following serious human rights violations, the rights of victims must be protected, the past must be dealt with and those responsible must be held to account. The Special Rapporteur supports affected states in this protracted and difficult work.

Another of Switzerland's priorities is the right to water and basic sanitation, for over 2 billion people worldwide still do not have adequate access to clean drinking water.

Further information:

UN Human Rights Council
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Swiss involvement
Water: Inalienable right – exhaustible resource

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