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Security and human rights


Switzerland launches UN cooperation initiative


On the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter launched an international appeal for better conflict prevention worldwide by strengthening cooperation between UN bodies.

The initiative, which was announced as the Human Rights Council began its summer session on Monday, aims to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to prevent conflict by more systematically raising human rights issues in debates on security policy.

“We call for strengthening the ties between human rights and development as well as peace and security policy,” Burkhalter announced. “We call for bringing the UN’s pillars closer together, to better link Geneva and New York and the questions of human rights and security.”

“This is how we can move forward in our common aim to prevent war and suffering.”

The Swiss Foreign Minister’s appeal has already been supported by 60 United Nations members, including three permanent members of the Security Council, he said. It calls on member states to increase cooperation between UN bodies, especially the Human Rights Council and Security Council, for example by inviting Security Council members to regularly request briefings on human rights situations. The aim, Burkhalter said, is to more readily share information about human rights concerns when making security policy decisions.

“Today, in many cases, this information is not transmitted in time or is not taken into consideration,” he said.

The Swiss Foreign Minister also took the opportunity of speaking to the Human Rights Council to comment on Sunday’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which is now the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

“We must continue to fight against and prevent terrorism to defend our people and our freedom,” he said.  

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