China and Switzerland in dialogue on human rights

Bern, 20.05.2016 - The 14th round of the human rights dialogue between Switzerland and China took place from 17 to 20 May in Beijing. The discussions allowed an open, constructive and mutually critical debate on bilateral human rights issues which are priorities for Switzerland, such as the criminal justice system, including the death penalty, the rights of minorities, strengthening the international human rights protection system as well as business and human rights. The human rights dialogue was held in a confidential framework.

The focus of this round of dialogue was the judicial and penal system, particularly in connection with the developments of the past year with respect to lawyers and human rights defenders in China and with recent legislation as well as the rights of minorities. Switzerland expressed its concern on the basis of concrete situations. Shared national and international challenges were also addressed.
The talks also covered both countries' commitment to strengthening the international human rights protection system, including within the framework of the United Nations Human Rights Council, and initiatives in the area of business and human rights. Agreement was reached on possibilities for enhancing exchanges in these and other areas within the framework of the human rights dialogue.

Following the official talks, the Swiss delegation, headed by Special Ambassador for Human Rights Nicole Wyrsch, was received by Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Baodong. In addition to an appreciation of the human rights dialogue, the expectation was expressed that in keeping with the intensification of bilateral relations between Switzerland and China, exchanges in the field of human rights should also be enhanced.

On 18 and 19 May the Swiss delegation visited Ningxia Autonomous Region, where they met with local authorities and visited projects being undertaken as part of China's minorities policy.

On 20 May separate meetings were also held with the Ministry of Justice, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the Supreme People’s Court.

Since 1991, Switzerland and China have maintained a dialogue on human rights which is an integral part of the relations between the two countries.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs