U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Switzerland

As delivered by Jesse Bernstein
Delegation of the United States of America

28th Session
Geneva, November 9, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States welcomes the Swiss delegation to the UPR Working Group.

The United States commends Switzerland for its dedication to human rights and its support for the Universal Periodic Review.

We welcome Swiss voters’ approval to expedite the asylum process, increase financial aid, and provide free legal help to asylum seekers.

We are concerned, however, by continued reports of lengthy detention and mistreatment of asylum seekers, discrimination against members of ethnic minority groups, as well as inadequate conditions in some prisons and places of pretrial detention.  We are also concerned over potentially insufficient federal security provisions for religious institutions, particularly related to the Jewish community.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we recommend that Switzerland:

  1. Revise its asylum law to be consistent with the recommendations of the Swiss Refugee Aid on care and support for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers;
  2. Increase resources to reduce overcrowding and improve health facilities in prisons, and follow the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture recommendations on youths and juveniles in pretrial detention;
  3. Increase state-funded security for minority religious community institutions as well as community members, and counter xenophobic and racist discourse against members of minority groups.

Thank you Mr. President.

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