AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
The United States warmly welcomes Didier Burkhalter and the Swiss delegation.
We commend the Government of Switzerland’s long-standing commitment to the promotion of human rights, both domestically and internationally. We also commend Switzerland for its implementation of recommendations from its previous review.
We praise the Swiss government’s five-year review of corporate salary structures aimed at eliminating the pay gap between men and women who do the same work.
We appreciate the Government’s creation of several initiatives to give support to migrants who are unaccompanied minors seeking immigration protection , the majority of whom, we understand, were trafficked to the country for begging. However, we have concerns about the level of care provided to these minors during detention. Outside groups have reported that care is insufficient, detention is lengthy, and detention facilities separate from adults are not provided.
We also remain concerned about the treatment of adult migrants held in immigration detention while seeking protection and during repatriation. The National Commission for the Prevention of Torture has identified numerous areas for improvement, including providing clearer information to prospective deportees and assigning specially trained police to handle immigration, asylum and deportation issues.
Societal discrimination against members of minorities, especially the Jewish, Muslim, and Romani communities, remains a serious concern. We praise your government’s commitment to promptly prosecute any individual or group who has committed hate crimes. However, we remain concerned that members of minority groups may be deprived of their right to express their cultural and religious traditions fully. One example of this is the national ban on construction of minarets.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:
1. Provide access for all asylum and repatriation detainees to attorneys, as well as consular notification and access consistent with applicable international legal obligations, including Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to detained foreign nationals.
2. Build or designate detention facilities for unaccompanied minors seeking immigration protection separate from adult facilities.