The Swiss delegation was headed by ambassador Knoblauch, the special envoy for human rights policy issues. The talks, marked by a spirit of openness and of reciprocal interest, led to a fruitful interchange and underlined the particular importance that the two countries attach to dialogue.
The discussions focused on legislative reform taking place in Switzerland and in Vietnam, on the continuation of collaboration with a view to complying with international norms on women's rights, on the activities of the United Nations Human Rights Council and on the exchange of experts in the field of legal implementation and on the guarantee of minority rights. The legal framework and technical cooperation in the protection of women's rights were also discussed.
The Vietnamese delegation explained the ongoing debate in Vietnam on the subject of the death penalty and preparatory measures for the planning adoption of the Convention on Torture. Views were also exchanged on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the context of the need to maintain national security.
The initiative to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland was also discussed in the framework of discussions on the freedom of religion. The presence of representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and of the Federal Department of Justice enabled the Swiss side to give an in-depth presentation on this issue.
On the issue of international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, the delegations discussed cooperation within the Human Rights Council, the follow-up of the universal periodic reviews of each country and the Vietnamese experience as president of the UN Security Council. Vietnam, as president of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2010, is aware of the importance of its activity for the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights, which was established in 2009.
The eighth round of the human rights dialogue was rounded off with a visit to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where the delegations met Giorgio Malinverni, the Swiss judge at the court. He gave them an insight into the work of the court in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights.
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