Geneva: Switzerland expressed concerns over human rights situation in Tibet and East Turkistan during the second round of bilateral strategic dialogue, held earlier this week, between the Swiss Foreign Minister and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met in Bern, Capital of Switzerland, to discuss “bilateral cooperation, human rights and multilateralism.”
While addressing the human rights issues, Mr. Cassis raised Switzerland’s concern about “conditions for minorities, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang Province”. However, the statement remains silence on the detailed account of its concern over human rights issues relayed to the Chinese Foreign Minister. “Bilateral talks on human rights and multilateral initiatives are mutually complementary instruments”, said Mr. Cassis, in the statement released. The statement also highlighted Hong Kong.
Economic ties were the major subjects of discussions in the meeting of two ministers. China is reportedly Switzerland’s third largest trading partner after the EU and the US, with an annual trade volume of CHF 44billion in 2018.
Pursuance to the bi-lateral meeting, Representatives from Tibet Bureau in Geneva, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile based in Switzerland and representatives from Tibet groups have had held several meetings on Tibet and its situation with Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).
Underlining Switzerland’s cooperation with China in multiple areas, including climate-related projects, Mr. Cassis emphasized the importance of “rules-based international order”, and highlights Switzerland, being host of “international Geneva”, and “its involvement in humanitarian action”, added the statement.
Switzerland hosts the largest Tibetan community in Europe. It is known as the first European country to welcome Tibetan refugees in the 1960’s.
-Filed by Tibet Bureau, Geneva