The Swiss delegation was headed by Ambassador Greminger, head of Political Affairs Division IV, Human Security, of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). The talks were held in an atmosphere of frankness and mutual respect which enabled fruitful exchanges to take place. Both sides stressed the special importance that they attach to these consultations.
The main thread running through discussions of national human rights policy concerned the issues of tolerance, pluralism and freedom of expression. In particular the question of migrants in Switzerland and in Russia was discussed, as well as measures to combat racism and to promote religious tolerance. The question of discrimination against specific groups such as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender organisations was also discussed.
As for international mechanisms for the protection of human rights, the delegations discussed their cooperation within the Human Rights Council and their expectations with regard to the review process, in particular the special procedures. The two delegations also took stock of the Swiss presidency of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
Finally, the advances made in operational projects, notably the reform of the juvenile justice system in Russia, were presented. In the framework of this project, the Swiss delegation visited the model detention centre for minors in the Tula region. This project entered the specific collaboration phase this year. A delegation of Swiss experts has just returned from Tula, where it conducted an in-depth analysis of this centre.
Finally, the Swiss delegation took the opportunity to meet the ombudsman of the Russian Federation, Mr Lukhin, in Moscow, as well as Mrs Ella Panfilova, president of the human rights council to the President of the Russian Federation, and several representatives of Russian civil society.
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