Hon. Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the inaugural session of the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today. The inaugural session was addressed, among others, by the President of the UN General Assembly, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The inauguration session was followed by the High-level Segment of the Council, which is being attended by more than a hundred high-level dignitaries from the UN Member States. The High-level Segment will continue until the 1st of March 2017.
On the sidelines of the Session, Hon. Minister held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Minister of Foreign Affairs ) of Switzerland today. Various aspects of cooperation between the two countries, and the multilateral issues of common interests were discussed during the meeting. Hon’ble Foreign Minister appreciated the longstanding cooperation of Switzerland in the socio-economic development efforts of Nepal, and updated the Swiss Minister on the recent political developments in Nepal including the progress towards implementation of the Constitution. The Swiss Foreign Minister underscored the need to make the assistance results-oriented and beneficial for the Nepali people, and assured that the Swiss development assistance to Nepal would continue in the future. He said that some of the new identified areas needing support will also be covered. In this respect, Hon’ble Minister Dr. Mahat said that Nepal was in need of more support and promotion of investment in infrastructure development activities which help in improving connectivity.
The two Ministers also agreed to cooperate in multilateral forums, and promote multilateral issues of common interests for common benefits. Cooperation in human rights issues and managed migration were among them. The Nepalese side requested for the support of the Swiss side for the candidature of Nepal to Human Rights Council.
Members of the Nepali delegation, including the Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN in Geneva H.E. Mr. Deepak Dhital accompanied Hon’ble Minister at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Hon. Dr. Mahat met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi at UNHCR office today and discussed the issue of Bhutanese refugees sheltered in Nepal. The Minister clearly stated that it was the responsibility of Bhutan to take back the Bhutanese who are not resettled in third countries. He reiterated that it was an inalienable right of the Bhutanese refugees, wherever they have been settled, to go back to their homeland. He thanked the UNHCR for their support in the third country resettlement of a large number of Bhutanese refugees and asked the High Commissioner to exert pressure on Bhutan to allow for voluntary repatriation of the remaining refugees. The High Commissioner noted that he was clear about the position of Nepal on the Bhutanese refugees and would do his best, within his means, in further continuing the third country resettlement, and exert moral pressure for voluntary repatriation. He also said that UNHCR would continue supporting the remaining refugees in the camps.
Hon. Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat arrived in Geneva yesterday to attend the High-level Segment of the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council. During his arrival at the Airport, Honourable Minister was welcomed by Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal. The Delegation of Nepal to the Human Rights Council includes Mr. Rajib Gautam, Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, H.E. Ambassador/PR as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Nepal in Geneva. The Human Rights Council session will continue until 24 March 2017.
Embassy/Permanent Mission of Nepal
27 February 2017