An Afghan migrant is stabbed in the heart on the streets of Athens. Black-shirted paramilitaries linked to Hungary’s third-largest political party march through a Roma neighborhood shouting, “You will die here.” A neo-Nazi gang commits a string of murders of Turkish immigrants in Germany. An ideologue driven by hatred of “multiculturalism” kills 67 mostly young people on a Norwegian Island.
Switzerland is a country of paradoxes. Rich with humanitarian traditions, home of international human rights bodies and organizations, and numerous global companies, it is also a place where the debate around migration has grown increasingly hard-line.
If Switzerland wants to play an even greater role in the global and domestic jewelry trade, it should demonstrate more leadership in ending the sale and production of "blood diamonds," gems procured in the context of the most severe human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch is concerned about a number of practices which in Switzerland have led to serious instances of human rights violations that erode the implementation of international standards of human rights protection in the country. Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned about the use of “diplomatic assurances” against torture and ill-treatment and the recently adopted Law on Asylum.
Human Rights Watch remains extremely concerned about the efforts of the Swiss government to extradite to Turkey a number of Kurds currently resident in Switzerland. A letter from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, suggests that the Swiss government has departed from its previous principled position against reliance on diplomatic assurances against torture and ill-treatment and now seeks to carve out an exception to justify the use of unreliable “no torture” promises specifically in the extradition context.
I am writing to express Human Rights Watch’s deep concern at reports that the government of Switzerland intends to rely upon diplomatic assurances against torture and other ill-treatment from the government of Turkey to effect pending extraditions of Kurds wanted on terrorism charges in that country.