Swiss president highlights digital responsibility in New York

Swiss President Ueli Maurer addressing the UN General Assembly in New York. Keystone/Mary Altaffer

Speaking in front of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Ueli Maurer described the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions as “compasses of values” in the digital age.

This content was published on September 25, 2019 - 08:50, ug

“We want the new digital society to commit to, abide by, and implement a common set of basic ethical values,” said Maurer, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency. As an example he highlighted the “Swiss Digital Initiative”, which was founded three weeks ago in Geneva.

+ How the Swiss Digital Initiative will promote ethics

Maurer called on the international community to ensure that human rights as well as the rights of smaller countries are upheld, particularly in the area of data protection. He also called for technological progress to be fostered, not hindered.

“If we are to succeed in stabilising supplies of food, water and energy, if we are to tackle climate change effectively, we need to do more than just pay lip service to these aims – we need technical innovation,” said the finance ministerExternal link, highlighting the need for investment in research, development and education.

Talks with Iran

At a news conference in New York on Tuesday, Maurer said Switzerland had role to play within the UN to ensure that smaller countries are not marginalised by big powers.

On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Maurer met the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

Maurer said the crisis between Iran and the United States over a nuclear treaty was not on the agenda.

Switzerland has been representing the interests of Tehran in Washington and vice versa over the past 40 years. Switzerland and Iran celebrate the 100th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year.

On Monday, Maurer had spoken at the United Nations Climate Action summit:

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