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Human Rights Council Swiss anxious about situation in Poland, Syria and Burundi

Leaders of EU and Poland

Brussels and Poland are not really on back-slapping terms right now


Switzerland has expressed its concern on “attacks on the separation of powers” in Poland at the 37th sessionexternal link of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

“Any reform of the judicial system should aim at strengthening the independence of the judiciary,” said Valentin Zellweger, Swiss ambassador to the UN in Geneva, on Thursday. 

The conservative party in power in Poland on Tuesday had its own candidates elected to the National Judicial Council, a constitutional body that guarantees the independence of the judiciary. 

Other recent changes to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court or other courts have plunged the country into a political crisis. EU leaders have condemned what they see as an assault on judicial independence and equality and have triggered Article 7, which could divest Poland of its voting rights in the 28-member body. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is currently in talks with the EU in an attempt to prevent the implementation of sanctions. 

Human rights violations

In addition to the situation in Poland, Switzerland has again denounced what it calls “astonishing” violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria. On Thursday, it called on parties and states with influence to engage in the political process. 

Switzerland also stressed the importance of implementing a ceasefire so that civilians could be helped and protected. 

Burundi was another country on the Swiss radar following the violence linked to the 2015 electoral process. The alpine nation called on Burundi to cooperate with the United Nations’ mechanisms.


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