Swiss lead migration dialogue at UN meeting

While in New York, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (centre) visited the city's police headquarters to discuss child pornography and human trafficking issues Keystone

Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga addressed changing global migration realities and welcomed the addition of migration issues to the United Nations’ mandate during her first visit to New York for a high-level UN meeting.

This content was published on October 3, 2013 - 11:52 and agencies

“It’s a politically charged, controversial topic that you couldn’t talk about [on a diplomatic level] for a long time,” Sommaruga told the media on Wednesday evening.

She added that the new worldwide willingness to discuss the issue and the UN’s decision to add migration and development to its mandate were signs that it was now at the top of many countries’ political agendas.

Sommaruga also noted that the picture of global migration was changing drastically: Mexico, for example, today has more people coming into the country than leaving it. And whereas the Swiss used to settle all over the world, Switzerland has now become a land of immigrants from other countries, especially from northern nations.

“This means that we have to get rid of certain pictures and ideas that aren’t the reality anymore,” she said, referring in part to the perception that immigration largely originates in southern countries.

As part of this week’s UN dialogue, the Swiss delegation organised two events with southern nations to discuss human migration issues. Together with Bangladesh, Switzerland worked to ensure that migration would play a significant role in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals that the body wants to achieve by 2015.

Cyber borders

While in New York, Sommaruga also addressed issues that know no geographic boundaries: cybercrime, online child pornography and human trafficking.

To understand how to combat online crime, she paid a visit to the “Real Time Crime Center” at the New York Police Department (NYPD) and saw how a network of police information and data could be key to catching cybercriminals.

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