Successful Swiss initiatives at the Human Rights Council

Press release, 23.03.2018

The Human Rights Council closes today the fourth and final week of its 37th session. Switzerland has successfully presented three resolutions on the links between human rights and respectively the environment, drugs and the protection of cultural heritage.

Switzerland, in cooperation with partner States, was successful in its efforts to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, initially established in 2012. Recognising that a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is essential for the full enjoyment of human rights, the mandate promotes the consideration of human rights when developing environmental policies.

Switzerland and a group of partner States introduced a resolution reaffirming the importance of respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in the context of the world drug problem, in particular when developing and implementing policies in this area.

Lastly, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the protection of cultural heritage, presented by Switzerland and a group of partner States. The resolution stresses the negative consequences of the destruction of cultural heritage on the enjoyment of cultural rights and calls on States to prevent and combat the destruction, looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property.

This session also marked the adoption of the report on the third Universal Periodic Review of Switzerland.

In parallel, Switzerland closely followed the discussions and decisions relating to the human rights situation in various countries, in particular in North Korea, Myanmar, South Sudan and Syria. In accordance with its long-standing commitment for the respect, promotion and implementation of human rights and international humanitarian law, Switzerland advocated for violations of international law to be documented by international investigation mechanisms so that those responsible can one day be held criminally accountable.
In particular, during an urgent debate on Eastern Ghouta, Switzerland expressed its serious concern about the escalation of the armed conflict in Syria and supported the decision requesting the Commission of Inquiry on Syria to consider more specifically the latest developments in the region.

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