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68th General Assembly of the United Nations
From 23 to 27 September 2013, the president of the Confederation, Ueli Maurer, and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter have participated in the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The president of the Confederation has delivered a speech to the General Assembly. The minister of foreign affairs, Didier Burkhalter, was scheduled to attend conferences on topical issues. The minister in charge of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Simonetta Sommaruga, has contributed to a key dialogue on migration and development from 3 to 4 October.
Bundesrätin Simonetta Sommaruga, die Vorsteherin des Eidgenössischen Justiz- und Polizeidepartements (EJPD), nahm am Donnerstag und Freitag am zweiten Hochrangigen Dialog der Vereinten Nationen über Internationale Migration und Entwicklung in New York teil.
Dort hat sie das schweizerische Modell der Migrationspartnerschaft vorgestellt und die Bedeutung der Migration für gesellschaftliche und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung unterstrichen.
Anfang Woche besuchte Bundesrätin Sommaruga zudem das New York City Police Departement (NYPD), wobei der Fokus auf der Bekämpfung des Menschen- und Frauenhandels sowie der Internetkriminalität im Zusammenhang mit der sexuellen Ausbeutung von Kindern und Jugendlichen lag.
In New York, 24 states have adopted a declaration based on a Swiss initiative on support for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The declaration calls for more intensive action to fight impunity in the case of the worst violations of international law. The signatory states undertake to pursue this objective in their diplomatic contacts. Their objective is to create a strong and widely recognised ICC.
The declaration on the ICC was adopted within the framework of the Informal Ministerial Network for the ICC, to which the head of the FDFA, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, belongs. It is made up of a group of ministers especially committed to the promotion of international criminal justice. The network was established in 2012 by Liechtenstein.
Declaration of Commitment to the International Criminal Court
At this meeting organised by Switzerland, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter called on the international community to include in its post-2015 future objectives for sustainable development strong commitments in the areas of water management, water quality, and access to water and sanitation for all. He also proposed the creation of a broad platform to support this ambitious goal and to make sustainable use of water for the benefit of humanity, for economic growth and for the environment.
Federal Councilior Didier Burkhalter at the High Level Side Event on “Tackling Water Risks to Ensure a Sustainable Future”. © FDFA
«Tackling Water Risks to Ensure a Sustainable Future» (pdf, 493 Kb)
Speech (en) (pdf, 383 Kb)
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter has stressed that the conclusion of the Arms Trade Treaty is a major accomplishment, at a high-level event on the topic. The treaty includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms to regions in conflict and to parties that violate human rights. Furthermore, the treaty fills a gap in international law and demonstrates the ability of the UN to take action with regard to global governance.
The head of the FDFA added that universal adherence to the treaty, strict application of its provisions and faithful interpretation are essential. Switzerland is keen to support these objectives and has offered to host the treaty's secretariat in Geneva to this end.
At a side event organised by Switzerland within the framework of the high-level week of UN General Assembly meetings, President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer called on international stakeholders to strengthen their cooperation and coordination efforts in order to better protect civilians in armed conflicts and ensure access for humanitarian aid to the victims of those conflicts.
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the deputy secretary-general of the UN, Jan Eliasson, and the President, Ueli Maurer. © FDFA
“Addressing the challenges to enhance the protection of civilians in armed conflicts and other situation of violence” (pdf, 38 Kb)
This high-level event targeted two objectives: to mobilise the political resolve of the States to step up their efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015; and to jointly discuss and define the post-2015 development agenda.
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter seized the opportunity to underscore Switzerland’s commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to reiterate the main elements of Switzerland’s position on the future framework for sustainable development after 2015.
Outcome document (pdf, 198 Kb)
Speech by Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter (fr) (pdf, 321 Kb)
© United Nations Photo Library / Paulo Filgueiras
In a speech delivered in French before the UN General Assembly, President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer urged the international community to take action in order to create a more equal and peaceful world: “We must work towards a world of peace in which people and nations enjoy the same rights and are of equal importance. A world in which the rule of law trumps force.”
Speaking in defence of the principle of the sovereignty of nations, Mr Maurer voiced criticism of a return to a kind of politics based on power and the imposition of force. In his view, the big countries of the world should rather consider the small countries as equal partners. “It is my sincere wish that this regrettable situation may be reversed. If it is not, then the very fundamental values of the UN Charter, recognised and accepted by the international community in its entirety, will be called into question.”
Regarding Syria, the Swiss president reiterated Switzerland’s call for the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice: “The use of chemical weapons is a particularly odious crime and it is absolutely vital that light be shed on the facts. Switzerland welcomes recent developments in that respect. It is of paramount importance that we put an immediate end to the violence in Syria in order to shield the civilian population from further suffering.”
President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer and UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon.
© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Taking part in the first high-level political forum on sustainable development, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter urged the participants to coordinate their work with other structures already in place. He also underlined the importance of remaining open to the participation of other stakeholders from civil society, such as the private sector, and regarding policy he argued in favour of including the scientific community, stressing that only by embracing science can we hope to truly understand and respond to the challenges facing the planet.
Left photo: Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson shaking hands © FDFA
Right photo: Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in a bilateral meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League © FDFA
President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer and Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter at the opening media conference at the Swiss UN Mission in New York. © FDFA
Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter addresses the ministerial meeting of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF) which was opened on Monday in New York by the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. In particular, the head of the FDFA proposed that the IOF focus its efforts on young people and that the next Strategic Framework of the Francophonie 2015–2022 strengthen its commitment to fight the recruitment of child soldiers and to take concrete measures to facilitiate their demobilisation and reintegration into society.
Left photo: Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter addresses the ministerial meeting of the IOF. © FDFA
Right photo: Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon shaking hands at the IOF ministerial meeting. © FDFA