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Terrorism Human rights under threat, says foreign minister

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter urged the international community to root out terrorism

(Keystone)

The fight against terrorism was the focus of the opening speech by Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter at the 28th Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva. 

In his speech at the meeting on Monday, Burkhalter denounced terrorist groups which attacked the fundamental values of democratic societies. 

“What is worse that forcing young girls to be suicide bombers in busy markets? What is more cruel than carrying out attacks on schoolchildren? What is more shameful than silencing the freedom of opinion? What is more intolerant than destroying symbols of religion – be they Jewish, Christian or Islamic?” he said. 

His audience included foreign ministers from the United States, Russia and Iran. In total, around 85 foreign ministers and vice-foreign ministers are expected in Geneva over the next three days. 

“Tolerance and acceptance of different ways of life are features of our open and liberal society. We must combat terrorism at its roots with our values,” he added. 

Burkhalter also said that human rights in their universality were being threatened and called into question – with consequences for the entire world. 

“Dialogue and mutual understanding are giving way to prejudice and feelings of revenge,” he said. 

Furthermore, Burkhalter appealed to the international community to work on behalf of Syrian refugees and to find a political solution for the crisis in Ukraine.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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