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Human Rights Council

Swiss highlight human rights violations at UN meeting

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On Monday, Switzerland used its slot during a general debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to raise its concerns about restrictions of basic freedoms and human rights violations in specific countries. 

Russia was put in the spotlight for stifling freedom of expression during its recent parliamentary elections. Switzerland requested Russian authorities to ensure to ensure the conditions necessary for a pluralist public debate. Extra-judicial killings in the name of a war on drugs in the Philippines were also raised. They were called a violation of human rights and the rule of law. 

Switzerland also called for an investigation into the deaths of anti-government protesters in Ethiopia. The protests, which began in the Oromia region in 2015 and spread to the Amhara region this year, were crushed by government forces. Several hundred protesters have reportedly been killed in the crackdown. 

Turkmenistan also came in for some Swiss criticism with regard to the harassment of human rights defenders. The government of Turkmenistan was asked to shed light on the dozens of prisoners who have been forcibly disappeared and whose whereabouts are kept secret from their families. 

Bahrain was condemned for suppressing the opposition forces as well as NGOs while Israel and Nicaragua were accused of significantly decreasing the opportunities available for the participation of civil society. 

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