Human Rights Council adopts resolutions initiated by Switzerland on the death penalty and transitional justice

Bern, 29.09.2017 - Today the Human Rights Council's 36th session in Geneva comes to a close. Switzerland successfully presented two resolutions: one on the death penalty and the other on the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on transitional justice.

The Human Rights Council today adopted a resolution on the death penalty, presented by Switzerland and a group of associated states (Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova and Mongolia), 27 votes in favour, 13 against and 7 abstentions. This resolution highlights the negative consequences of the death penalty for the protection of human rights, and calls on states that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not applied arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner.

Switzerland was also successful in its proposal to renew for a second time the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on transitional justice (Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence) for a period of three years. The resolution was adopted today by consensus with the support of 71 states. The Special Rapporteur is responsible, among other things, for formulating recommendations on the basis of various national experiences in order to remedy serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. His mandate has now been adapted to better respond to prevention needs, particularly when there is a risk of a situation recurring. Switzerland worked with Argentina and Morocco on this initiative, the two partner states with which it had initiated the creation of the Special Rapporteur's mandate in 2011.

At the September session of the Human Rights Council, which lasted three weeks, Switzerland was actively engaged in promoting respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and followed closely the debates on Burundi, Syria and Yemen. It pledged to protect the medical mission in conflict zones and supported the establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry in Yemen to document violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Lastly, Switzerland reiterated the essential role played by civil society in the promotion and protection of and respect for human rights and stressed the crucial role of the Human Rights Council in anticipating and preventing human rights violations.

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