The Advisory Committee and the FCNM Secretariat are mourning the sudden death, on 1 September 2017, after a very short illness, of Dr Barbara Wilson, the Advisory Committee’s member elected in respect of Switzerland. Barbara, a Professor of International Law at the University of Lausanne and a respected expert on minority rights, non-discrimination and international protection of human rights, was a long-standing member of the Advisory Committee. Barbara first served on the Advisory Committee from 1 June 2008 until 31 May 2012, and again since 1 June 2016. She was also a Vice President of the Advisory Committee between 2010 and 2012.
Barbara was a very active and committed member of the Advisory Committee and participated in numerous working groups over the years, including her last one on Slovenia this spring. She was always ready to listen and learn, but also brought incisive contributions on substantive issues to discussions. Barbara always eagerly emphasised the importance of the quality of the work of the Advisory Committee, particularly with her tenacity in wanting to find the best phrasing for sometimes very difficult and sensitive messages. Her sharp mind was always able to identify phrasing that was both diplomatically appropriate and to the point. She always understood the importance of working as a team member, but the Advisory Committee has been able to rely heavily on the merits of her own contributions as a scholar in the field of human and minority rights. Very recently, she finished a substantial commentary on Article 4 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
Barbara was a person of so many qualities and will be sorely missed by all present and former members of the Advisory Committee and the FCNM Secretariat, as an outstanding expert, as a highly respected colleague and a dear friend whose kindness, infectious natural enthusiasm, lively sense of humour and dedication to minorities and human rights in general was deeply valued by us all. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.