71st UN General Assembly and Summit for Refugees and Migrants

Monday, 19.09.2016 – Friday, 23.09.2016

Conference Assembly

Flags at the UN headquarters.
Mid-September the UN General Assembly and the Summit for Refugees and Migrants begin in New York. ©

President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter attend the UN General Assembly in New York. Before that event, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga had represent Switzerland at the Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

Monday, 19.09.2016 – Friday, 23.09.2016

Conference Assembly

Flags at the UN headquarters.
Mid-September the UN General Assembly and the Summit for Refugees and Migrants begin in New York. ©

President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter attend the UN General Assembly in New York. Before that event, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga had represent Switzerland at the Summit for Refugees and Migrants.

In the third week of September, the issues of refugees and migration and the opening of the 71st UN General Assembly will be in the spotlight in New York.

On 19 September, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga represented Switzerland at the Summit for Refugees and Migrants, where the international community seeks to find global approaches to dealing with current challenges.

On 20 September, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, addressed the General Debate at the opening of the UN General Assembly, where he will present Swiss foreign policy priorities in the context of the UN for the coming year.

Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter represents Switzerland during the ministerial (high-level) week in New York at various events on current topics. He will also hold bilateral discussions.

Switzerland's priorities for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (PDF, Number of pages 4, 73.4 kB, English)

Media release, 07.09.2016: Switzerland’s priorities at the UN’s 71st General Assembly

Speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann, 20 September 2016

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants: the international community's responsibility – Switzerland's commitment, web-article, 19.09.2016

Twitter Switzerland–UN

22 September 2016 – Water is essential for promoting peace and security

Switzerland draws attention of international community to importance of water in promoting peace and security.

"Water should be an instrument of peace and cooperation" Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter told the United Nations, where he was presenting Switzerland's 'blue diplomacy'. It aims to focus the international community's attention on issues relating to water, peace and security.

Switzerland launched the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace in 2015 in Geneva. The panel focuses on three main topics: funding water infrastructure, protecting water in armed conflicts, and intersectoral conflicts.

Mr Burkhalter declared in New York that Switzerland would join the Group of Friends that will be created in 2017 and will present a series of recommendations.

Switzerland draws attention of international community to importance of water in promoting peace and security, Press release, 22 September 2016

"Transforming water into a source of cooperation and peace", Address by Didier Burkhalter, High Level Side Event Water as a source of peace, 22 September 2016

21 September 2016 – Bilateral meetings on the margins of the UN General Assembly

The presence of many members of foreign governments offers Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter the opportunity to establish new contacts and strengthen existing bilateral relations.

In addition to participating in a variety of events being held in connection with the 71st session of the UN General assembly, the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is also using his stay in New York to hold bilateral talks with representatives of UN member states and a range of organisations.

Federal Councillor Burkhalter met over 20 foreign ministers in New York, including his Russian, Turkish and Thai counterparts.

21 September 2016 – Conflict prevention by strengthening UN human rights pillar

Switzerland launched the «Appeal of June 13th» in early 2016 to put human rights at the heart of conflict prevention, an initiative based on the assumption that deterioration of human rights in a region or country is often a precursor to future conflict or civil war. On these grounds Switzerland proposed that the Security Council in New York and the Geneva-based Human Rights Council work more closely together. Up till now, the appeal has been signed by some 70 countries. Federal Councillor Burkhalter emphasised that it was also important for the UN to react more promptly to human-rights violations.

During a ministerial meeting on the death penalty involving a former death row inmate and a prison guard, Mr. Burkhalter directed the focus to other victims created by the penalty: the offender’s family and prison staff.

Conflict prevention: Didier Burkhalter seeks to strengthen UN human rights pillar, press release, 21 September 2016

To put Human Rights at the Heart of Conflict Prevention, appeal of June 13t, 2016 (PDF, Number of pages 3, 161.0 kB, English)

"Capital punishment is not the answer: it only creates more victims, more violence and more suffering", speech by Didier Burkhalter, The Death Penalty and Victims Event

Switzerland's commitment to a world without capital punishment

«A glimmer of hope for the victims of fragility in our world», address by Didier Burkhalter, United Nations Peacebuilding Fund High-Level Pledging Conference, 21 September 2016

"Preventing Conflicts through the Mainstreaming of Human Rights", address by Didier Burkhalter at the Side Event "Preventing Conflicts through the Mainstreaming of Human Rights" 

New York, 20 September 2016 – Preventing violent extremism and terrorism

Stepping up international efforts to prevent violent extremism and terrorism was at the heart of Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter's concerns as he participated on Tuesday in the opening of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Swiss foreign minister focused on how to involve women and the private sector. Marginalised youth must be given a perspective – with the aim of preventing those deprived of hope from falling into violence and extremism.

Geneva-based Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) has launched an appeal for funds. Switzerland will continue funding GCERF, Burkhalter assured.

At the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) the head of the FDFA presented a project that fosters dialogue between young people and the authorities in a disadvantaged area of Tunis.

GCTF members at the ministerial meeting adopted a series of recommendations including the Neuchâtel memorandum on best practice in juvenile justice in the context of the fight against terrorism.

UN General Assembly: Switzerland committed to preventing violent extremism and terrorism, media release, 20.09.2016

"Fostering Prevention means countering Terrorism", statement by Didier Burkhalter, Global Counterterrorism Forum, 21 September 2016

«Empowering Communities to Prevent Violent Extremism», address by Didier Burkhalter, High-Level Awareness and Pledging Meeting for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, GCERF, 20 September 2016

"Women and PVE: a strategic priority for Switzerland", address by Didier Burkhalter, High Level Meeting on Women’s Leadership and Gender perspectives on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, 20 September 2016

“Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”, address by Didier Burkhalter, side-event co-hosted by Switzerland and Brazil in association with the Center for International Cooperation, 20 September 2016

New York, 19 September 2016 – UN issues declaration on refugees and migration

Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga represented Switzerland at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York. The summit participants issued a declaration aimed at meeting the challenges posed by migration and refugee movements.

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the start of the 71th UN General Assembly. The declaration issued by the summit participants includes measures for the protection of refugees and migrants and the prevention of displacement.

In addition, by 2018, two global compacts, one on migration and the other on refugees, are to be drawn up and adopted. Switzerland declared its interest in actively participating in the development of the compacts and in organising conferences to this end in Switzerland.

UN issues declaration on refugees and migration, media release, 19.09.2016

Statement by the Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the federal department of justice and police DFJP, 19.09.2016

Links

High-level meetings of the 71st session

Summit for Refugees and Migrants - 19 September 2016

United Nations

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in New York

Switzerland’s priorities at the UN’s 71st General Assembly, media release, 07.09.2016

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants: the international community's responsibility – Switzerland's commitment, web-article, 19.09.2016

UN issues declaration on refugees and migration, media release, 19.09.2016

Speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammnan,20 September 2016

Speech by Mr Johann Schneider-Ammann, United Nations high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance, 12 September 2016

Statement by the Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, head of the federal department of justice and police DFJP, 19 September 2016

UN General Assembly: Switzerland committed to preventing violent extremism and terrorism, media release, 20.09.2016

«Empowering Communities to Prevent Violent Extremism», address by Didier Burkhalter, High-Level Awareness and Pledging Meeting for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, GCERF, 20 September 2016

"Women and PVE: a strategic priority for Switzerland", address by Didier Burkhalter, High Level Meeting on Women’s Leadership and Gender perspectives on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, 20 September 2016

“Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”, address by Didier Burkhalter, side-event co-hosted by Switzerland and Brazil in association with the Center for International Cooperation, 20 September 2016

Documents