Switzerland tables new Human Rights Council resolution for the abolition of the death penalty

Bern, 27.09.2019 - The death penalty should not be applied any longer in the 21st century among others for drug or terrorism-related crimes. This is the objective of a resolution tabled by Switzerland together with seven other countries at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. During the Council's 42nd session, which ended on Friday 27 September, Switzerland also contributed to a resolution aimed at strengthening transitional justice.

Switzerland categorically opposes the death penalty under all circumstances. It introduced the resolution on the abolition of the death penalty together with Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova and Mongolia. Switzerland launched the initiative with these partner countries in 2014, supporting the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty.  The aim of this process is to restrict the use and scope of the death penalty to the point where it is no longer applied. This year's resolution focused on the reinstatement of the death penalty, in particular for drug and terrorism-related offences. Switzerland has thus positioned itself as a bridge builder in a polarised debate.

In a resolution tabled jointly with Argentina and Morocco, Switzerland also reaffirmed its support for efforts to deal with the past. This resolution calls for an examination of the contribution of transitional justice to lasting peace and sustainable development. Through its commitment to strengthening transitional justice, Switzerland contributes to develop international standards and good practices in respect to dealing with serious violations of human rights and international law and guaranteeing non-recurrence.

Switzerland also continued its efforts in favour of the documentation and prosecution of violations of international law, especially in Myanmar, Yemen, South Sudan, Burundi and Syria.  With regard to the situation in Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela and Chad, Switzerland reasserted the key role of human rights in preventing conflict.

Finally, Switzerland called on States to protect freedom of expression and civil society, arguing in particular for journalists' and human rights defenders' right to take part in the work of the UN without risk of reprisals.

The 42nd session of the Human Rights Council took place from 9 to 27 September 2019. The Council plays a central role within the UN system for the protection of human rights.  During this session, it adopted more than 30 resolutions on the human rights situation in individual countries and for the promotion of specific rights, such as the right to clean drinking water.

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