UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pays visit to Bern

Press release, 04.12.2018

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, met with a Swiss delegation led by President Alain Berset in Bern on Tuesday, 4 December. The aim of the meeting was to have an in-depth exchange on cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner in Geneva and Switzerland. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and members of the Federal Assembly’s foreign affairs committees also took part in the discussions.

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet pose for a photo. In the background you can see the flags of Switzerland and the UN.
Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis meets the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. © FDFA

As host state, Switzerland actively and substantially supports both the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Human Rights Council. It is crucial that the international community provide the UN's human rights pillar with sufficient political and financial resources, declared Mr Berset.

The former Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, who took office as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the beginning of September, thanked Switzerland for its support and outlined the priorities of her office. Both sides emphasised the desire to foster closer and systematic cooperation between the High Commissioner's Office and Member States. For Switzerland, the Office of the UN High Commissioner is one of the most important partners for implementing its human rights policy. Switzerland is one of the major donor countries to the OHCHR established in 1993.

Mr Berset stressed the importance of a strong UN. Only cooperation between states will make it possible to meet global challenges. For his part, Mr Cassis pointed out that Switzerland was committed to reform processes aimed at giving the UN a boost and improving its influence and efficiency. In particular, he reiterated Switzerland's full support for the reforms launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

An important part of the exchange on Tuesday was devoted to crises and conflicts that threaten human rights in various parts of the world. The talks also covered a range of issues including the tendency to limit the space given to civil society actors, thereby restricting the rule of law.


Further information:

The UN and human rights
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Address for enquiries:

Peter Lauener, FDHA Information Service
+41 (0)79 650 12 34, media@gs-edi.admin.ch


Publisher:

Federal Department of Home Affairs
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs