President of the Confederation Ueli Maurer, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga to attend the 68th UN General Assembly in New York

Bern, Press release, 20.09.2013

President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter will represent Switzerland at the high-level week of the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York, from 23 to 27 September. At the opening of the General Debate, the president of the Confederation will set out the main points of Switzerland’s policy on the United Nations, while Federal Councillor Burkhalter will take part in several conferences dealing with current issues. On 3 and 4 October, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga will attend the High-Level UN Dialogue on Migration and Development, in New York.

In the coming week, the so-called high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly, many heads of state and heads of government as well as ministers of UN member states will travel to New York. The centrepiece of this ministerial week is the opening of the General Debate of the General Assembly, in which the president of the Confederation will participate on 24 September.

Switzerland will organise two special events within the framework of the high-level week: the one, which will take place on 25 September and be chaired by Ueli Maurer, is dedicated to the protection of civilian populations. This issue has become very topical in view of recent developments in Syria. The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, will also participate in this event. The ICRC celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

The second Swiss event, a panel discussion on the subject of water to be held on 25 September, will be led by Didier Burkhalter. Water is a central issue of the international debate on the definition of sustainable development objectives and one in which Switzerland is playing a leading role.

In addition, Mr Burkhalter plans to represent Switzerland’s positions in events on issues including the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (post-2015 agenda), nuclear disarmament and international criminal justice. At the meeting on international criminal justice, together with other government representatives, he will advocate for recognition of the International Criminal Court and its important role in combating impunity and the dissemination of and compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights.

Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), will represent Switzerland on 3 and 4 October at the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, and together with the head of the Nigerian delegation, will lead a roundtable discussion on the subject of migration partnerships. Central themes of the High-Level Dialogue are the potential of legal migration for the economic development of the states of origin and mechanisms to safeguard the rights of migrants.

In addition, the president of the Confederation and the two federal councillors will take advantage of the presence of numerous heads of state and ministers in New York to conduct bilateral talks.

The UN General Assembly is the central universal forum for global political debate, in which each of the 193 UN member states is represented with one vote. The 68th United Nations General Assembly opened on 17 September 2013 and lasts one year. The president of this year’s General Assembly is John William Ashe, previously ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations.

Further information:

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Further information:

Web Dossier
Switzerland and United Nations
Switzerland’s priorities for the 68th United Nations General Assembly
Brochure “ABC Switzerland - UN”
UN website (en, fr)

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