Human rights improvements on the cards

Switzerland has promised to implement six recommendations to improve its human rights record and rejected two others after a review by a United Nations body.

This content was published on May 13, 2008 - 16:38

The decision was announced after a working group of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council adopted a report on Swiss human rights on Tuesday.

Switzerland agreed to step up action against xenophobia, ratify the protocol of the UN convention against torture and create a national body to help prevent torture.

It will also continue to consult civil society on human rights and take into account gender specific perspectives. Preventive measures against xenophobic and racist acts of violence by police are also on the cards.

However, it rejected two recommendations calling for accountability in economic, social and cultural rights and ratification of the UN convention on migrant workers. The Swiss ambassador to the UN, Blaise Godet, said measures contained in the latter convention were "difficult to achieve".

Another 23 recommendations are to be reviewed by cabinet before a response is given during the official approval of the report before the UN body on June 12.

A Swiss delegation was questioned by around 40 states on various issues as part of the council's Universal Periodic Review.

Eduard Gnesa, director of the Federal Migration Office, told swissinfo on Tuesday that many of the states' questions were "justified" and Switzerland was taking them "very seriously".

"This dialogue with other countries is useful. If we can improve laws, we will do so," he added.

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