Arms sales world treaty passes strongly – but debate over what it means

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Three countries voted against it – Iran, North Korea and Syria – but with 154 countries backing it, the new international treaty to regulate the estimated $70-80 billion in world arms trade passed in the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday 2 April. There was widespread rejoicing that the long-debated treaty is finally […]

N Korea rhetoric shifts to more threats as it cuts hotline

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – North Korean belligerance has been stepped up again, with new threats against the South and the US. Wednesday 27 March it said it was cutting its hotline with South Korea, effectively ending all military communication, although an aviation hotline remains in place, according to news agency AP. Some weeks ago it reportedly […]

Swiss lead new call for UN to refer Syrian escalation to ICC

Latest UN investigators’ report shows atrocities are worsening, scale of Syrian disaster continues to grow GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Assigning accountability in Syria has become urgent, Switzerland told the UN Human Rights Commissioner Monday 11 March, noting that five new countries have joined its demands that the United Nations hand over this tasl to the ICC […]

Syria Humanitarian Conference opens to “reckless with human life” report

icrc_syria_2012

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND  – The seventh UN Syrian Humanitarian Conference opens in Geneva today, February 19, to discouraging news. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria published its latest report Monday, saying that “both pro- and anti-Government forces have become increasingly violent and reckless with human life as the conflict draws to the close of its […]

World tourism reaches a new high: 1b travellers

The Chillon castle in Montreux is one of the most visited in Switzerland.

MADRID, SPAIN – The number of world tourists has surpassed the 1 billion mark for the first time, says the Madrid-based UN’s World Tourism Organization. Although Europe is still the preferred destination and saw a 3% increase in visitors, “emerging economies regained the lead (+4.1%) over advanced economies (+3.6%)”, said the UN body, “with Asia and the […]

Syrian bombs fall on petrol station, killing scores

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A Syrian air raid on a petrol station in the Mleiha district at the edge of Damascus has killed at least 30 people, with some estimates running as high as 70. The attack occurred Wednesday 2 January and is one of the most deadly recent attacks. Navi Pillay, United Nations Human Rights […]

Switzerland backs Palestine’s demand to change UN status (update)

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss Federal Council says the government will vote in favour of Palestine becoming an observer state, from its current status as a non-state observer at the United Nations. The 93-member UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday 29 November. There are  no vetoes, as in the Security Council. France announced […]

UN resolutions on death penalty moratorium gaining ground

Switzerland’s top human rights priority is for moratorium BERN, SWITZERLAND – The United Nations voted Monday 19 November in New York in favour of a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, with 110 states voting yes, 36 abstaining and 39 against. The resolution is up for a new vote every two years […]

Israel, Palestine meet in Cairo, Ban Ki-moon to join talks

Building housing international media hit by Israeli missiles twice in two days GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – One man, described by Israeli media as “an Islamic Jihad terrorist” died when a tower building that houses a number of international media, including Sky News, was hit by Israeli missiles. Sky News in its live coverage blog reports that […]

Film screening to fund Ethiopian runners

A group of amateur Geneva-based runners are promoting a fundraising screening of Town of Runners, a film that tells the story of two young girls, living in a rural town as they try to improve their lives through running. The event seeks to collect donations to fund a coach for young Ethiopian runners and facilitate opportunities for running, […]