Human Rights Council: 52nd session adopts two Swiss resolutions

Bern, 04.04.2023

Switzerland presented two resolutions during the 52. session of the UN Human Rights Council in collaboration with other countries: the first on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment; the second focusing on human rights and drug policies. Both initiatives were adopted on Tuesday. The session opened on 27 February 2023 with the participation of Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis and around 100 high-ranking officials.

The United Nations Human Rights Council today concluded the longest session in its history. In his opening speech on 27 February, Mr Cassis, representing the host country, condemned the war against Ukraine and highlighted the importance of dialogue in multilateral forums. In this year of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he reiterated the importance of the implementation of international obligations by states.

Switzerland presented two resolutions during the session in collaboration with other countries. In the first, Switzerland took the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of a human rights-based approach in all actions aimed at combating environmental degradation. This resolution was adopted without votes.

In the second initiative, Switzerland promoted a drug policy in line with human rights, including the right to health. Switzerland is a key actor in this field. This resolution was also adopted without votes.

Switzerland states position on other issues, including war in Ukraine

Switzerland expressed its position in various joint statements, several of which were related to the war against Ukraine. It also made joint statements on Iran, on plastic pollution, on gender recognition, and on accountability for the victims of the 2020 Beirut port explosion.

Switzerland also played an active role in the negotiations of several other resolutions, notably on preventing torture, the freedom of religion and belief, human rights defenders and the right to food.

During the session, many other reports were presented. Switzerland expressed its views during the discussions that followed the rapporteurs’ presentations, notably on the protection of children in situations of armed conflict, on the right to a healthy environment, on the prevention of torture and on the protection of human rights defenders. Switzerland also stated its position on the human rights situation in several countries including Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela.

Switzerland reaffirms its support for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

The 52nd session of the Human Rights Council was also the first for the new high commissioner, Volker Türk, who took office last October. In an official statement, Switzerland expressed its appreciation for the valuable work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting and protecting human rights.