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Swiss criticise US human rights record

Switzerland has called on the United States to bring in a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

Dante Martinelli, Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, made the appeal at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday. The council was debating a report on the human rights record of the US, compiled for the ninth session of the Universal Periodic Review.

He also criticised the detention conditions used for some immigrants to the US and said they such only be detained in exceptional cases and in conformity with international standards.

The ambassador urged Washington to deal with the 174 people still detained in Guantanamo, and added that Switzerland had accommodated three detainees.

All member states of the UN can make recommendations for countries being appraised by the council. The countries in question then respond, either accepting or rejecting the proposals or postponing their reaction.

One of the council's duties is to conduct a Universal Periodic Review of all 192 members of the UN to scrutinise their human rights records at home. Member states are divided into groups of about 16 countries for the procedures. During a two-week review session, a council working group looks at the record for each country within that group. and agencies


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