Message from Switzerlands’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Ambassador Markus Leitner on 5th July 2022 to the International Ministerial on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB Ministerial) hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.
Full message (original transcript by The European Times):
Ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
Switzerland thanks the United Kingdom for convening and hosting this important conference.
The peaceful coexistence of and respect between different religious, linguistic and cultural groups are core values of Switzerland.
As a multicultural and multilingual society, Switzerland is particularly committed to promoting inclusive societies based on respect for differences and the protection of minorities contributing to a country’s stability and well-being.
My country stays convinced that no one should be discriminated, disadvantaged or treated differently based on their religion or the way to express their belief.
Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all is firmly established in the Swiss Constitution and forms an integral part of the Swiss international human rights policy.
Serious violations of freedom of religion, violence, persecution, discrimination, domination and hatred against religious, linguistic and cultural minorities continue to occur across the world and pose a threat to democracies and durable peace.
Switzerland is particularly concerned about the increasing number of hate crimes and violent attacks on discriminatory motives offline and online.
Racism and hate speech are spreading today, mostly through Internet and social media, fueled during the COVID pandemic, and conspiracy theories, especially anti-Semitic ones, are proliferating.
The promotion and protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and or belief is also a key element of Switzerland’s international peace-building policies.
Social and political exclusions are part of society and lead either to resignation or violence, both of which are detrimental to the development of lasting peace and security.
There is a strong correlation between inequality, less economic development, more political instability, and increased violence.
The political participation of religious or belief communities on the basis of the principle of citizenship is, therefore, a necessary precondition for a peaceful resolution of conflicts. Switzerland addresses violations against ethnic and religious minorities on the bilateral and multilateral levels and encourages a mutual understanding by means of dialogue.
We are convinced that it is primarily through experience and knowledge and through contacts and dialogue in everyday situations that the coexistence of different cultures and religions can be successful.
Every citizen can and must contribute to non-discrimination.
Finally, it is up to policymakers to provide adequate conditions in order to effectively and sustainably combat all forms and manifestations of discrimination.