Switzerland has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council at the UN General Assembly in New York. The three-year term begins on January 1, 2016.
The Geneva-based Human Rights Councilexternal link was created in 2006 – the result of a Swiss initiative – to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, which was widely seen as ineffective.
Switzerland was previously a member from 2006-2009 and 2010-2013. It has been active within the council over the past two years, but its status as an observer meant it was unable to participate in votes.
The foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that, as a member of the Human Rights Council, “Switzerland will prioritise abolishing the death penalty worldwide, enforcing the ban on torture, strengthening the role of civil society, protecting human rights defenders, ensuring human rights are respected in the context of peaceful protests, promoting the rights of women and children and increasing criminal responsibility for serious human rights violations”.
It added that Switzerland would work to close gaps in international law and boost implementation of existing international standards in these and other fields.
“Switzerland will focus on dialogue and cooperation with partners from every region of the world, thus fulfilling its role as a bridge-builder,” the ministry said.
The 17 other states elected on Wednesday to the 47-state council are: Belgium, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Philippines, South Korea, Slovenia, Togo, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
swissinfo.ch and agencies