Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey opens 16th session of the Human Rights Council

Bern, Press release, 01.03.2011

Acting in her capacity as representative of host country Switzerland, the President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey opened the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday. In her opening speech, she condemned the appalling use of violence against demonstrators in North Africa and the Middle East and stressed the fundamental importance of human rights: “True stability and sustainable development are only possible in societies where the authorities respect the fundamental rights of their people,” she stated.

While thousands of people took to the streets of North Africa and the Middle East to demonstrate for freedom, democracy and human rights, the foreign ministers from all over the world gathered in Geneva early this week to attend the regular session of the UN Human Rights Council. In her opening speech, Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey condemned the violent repression of mass protests, particularly in Libya and welcomed the decision by the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

The UN Human Rights Council had responded to the events in Libya as early as last Friday: In a special session, it recommended suspending Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council and ordered an international inquiry into human rights violations in Libya.  

In addition to the Swiss President, who also attended bilateral meetings during the session, the dignitaries traveling to Geneva included UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov.

Further information:

Speech President of the Swiss Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey

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