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Rights Council adopts Swiss resolution on peaceful protests

Published on 17/07/2020

At Switzerland’s initiative, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution calling on all states to protect human rights in the context of peaceful protests and not use Covid-19 as a pretext for banning them.

The resolution “places a particular focus on ensuring that human rights in peaceful protests are not adversely affected by modern technologies,” says a Swiss foreign ministry press release. It says Switzerland reaffirms “the right to peaceful assembly both online and offline” and the importance of ensuring that “protesters are not hindered by internet blocking” or digital surveillance.

The resolution was sponsored by Switzerland and Costa Rica and was passed at the Human Rights Council’s 44th session which ended in Geneva on Friday.

Switzerland and five other countries (Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Peru and Qatar) also submitted a further resolution underscoring the responsibility of states and the international community to prevent “the most heinous of crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. This resolution refers to the “Responsibility to Protect”, a concept which UN member states adopted fifteen years ago.

“In view of the human rights situation in certain countries, Switzerland sustained its call for systematic compliance with human rights and, where applicable, international humanitarian law by all parties”, says the press release. It refers to the human rights situation in countries like Belarus, Eritrea and Syria. Switzerland also supported a declaration initiated by the UK in which the international community expressed its concern about the human rights situation in China (Xinjiang and Hongkong).