The Mission in Geneva develops relations with international and intergovernmental humanitarian organizations to inform them about the activities of the Order of Malta and to define possible fields of cooperation. Our work focuses on :

  • Refugees - UNHCR
  • Health - WHO
  • Relief - OCHA
  • Human rights - UNHCHR and HRC
  • Migration - IOM
  • Social matters - ECOSOC


Should you wish to contact a representative of the Order of Malta at an international conference in Geneva, please note that the Delegation is seated near other Observer delegations, such as the Holy See, Palestine and the ICRC.


Freedom of Religion / Special Rapporteur Report at the U.N. Geneva


UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, Debate on Freedom of Religion or Belief

H.E. Ambassador Marie-Therese Pictet-Althann, Permanent Observer of the Order of Malta to the U.N. Geneva, comments about the Report (on Tuesday March 10) of the Special Rapporteur Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt, during the 28th session of the Human Rights Council.


ECOSOC Conference "Humanitarian Affairs" at the U N



Human Trafficking Session and Side Event at the U.N. Geneva


Human Rights Council - 30th Session - Ambassador Pictet Althann Speech

H.E. Ambassador Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann, Permanent Observer of the Order of Malta to the U.N. Geneva, full length intervention from today during the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council, at the U.N. Geneva. Topic: Contemporary forms of Slavery.


19/11/2014: H.E. Pictet-Althann interviewed by Pax Press Agency


10-11 December 2013 - UNHCR - Protection at Sea

At stake are lives, rights and the human dignity of people who take to sea" remarked UNHCR's Director of Protection at the opening of the high level dialogue convened by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the topic of "Protection at Sea". The session was called to address a truly global challenge which deserves urgent attention from the international community, in particular governments and the media. It was divided between regional roundtables and 3 working groups concentrating on saving lives, providing safer options and international cooperation to share burdens and responsibilities. The Order of Malta's Delegation participated in each of the discussions highlighting the Order's Italian Relief Corps' (CISOM) first aid at sea operations on board the Italian Coast Guards and Finance Police vessels and stressing the necessity of an inclusive approach that englobes not only refugee law but also the rights of migrants, human rights and international humanitarian law.


28/12/2014 International Organization for Migration - 105th Session of the Council

During the General Debate held at Palais des Nations in Geneva, three Catholic Institutions where among the Delegations that addressed the IOM Council: the Holy See, as a member State, the Sovereign Order of Malta, as a Permanent Observer, and the International Catholic Migration Commission as a Non-Governmental Organization. H.E. Pictet-Althann gave an overview of the Order of Malta’s worldwide activities in support of displaced populations. “Recent tragic events have reminded us once again how important it is to ensure durable and sustainable solutions”, the Ambassador pointed out, emphasizing the ongoing emergency relief operations in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon. She also highlighted the Order’s assistance programs in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Regarding the tragic events around Lampedusa, she reported on the Order’s rescue activities carried out on board the Italian Finance Police and Coastguard vessels, thus guaranteeing immediate healthcare at sea to those crossing the Strait of Sicily. The Order of Malta Italian’s Relief Corp has indeed assisted more than 9000 migrants since 2008. In his reply, IOM’s Director General Swing thanked the Order for its capacity to react promptly in disaster situations. He also praised our presence in areas affected by armed conflicts, and expressed his deep appreciation for the role we play in the field of migration.

To read the whole statement of Ambassador Pictet-Althann, please click here.



H.E. Ambassador Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann decorated
as Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

12/11/14 "H.E. Ambassador Pictet-Althann decorated by the Holy See"

On 12th November 2014 the members of the Order’s Permanent Mission, together with sixty guests, including directors general of international organizations, heads of Missions and ambassadors, were invited to the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva for the award ceremony of our Ambassador Marie-Therese Pictet-Althann. After a warm welcome, H.E. Archbishop Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, addressed the audience. “The Order of Malta and the Holy See”, he pointed out, “share common objectives, such as solidarity and the respect of the dignity of each person”. He then introduced the decoration of Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great as a “special distinction for those who have accomplished important actions at the service of the Church and of society”. After accepting the decoration, Ambassador Pictet-Althann thanked Archbishop Tomasi and through him the Cardinal Secretary of State of the Holy See for such a high honor, and emphasized that this award is also an honor for the Order of Malta, a recognition of the importance and value of its work. She outlined the commitment of its members to its inspiring principles, reflected in the motto “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum”. Referring to the Order’s worldwide activities she underlined its position within the international community and emphasized the excellent cooperation it has established with the United Nations, its specialized agencies and other international humanitarian organizations. Ambassador Pictet-Althann also warmly thanked her family and all the friends who have been supporting her work throughout the last years.




Civilisation de l'Amour

HRC - Side event - Right to Peace - 16.09.2013

Civilisation de l'Amour : un dialogue pour montrer que ce n'est pas une utopie mais une espérance que partagent Chrétiens, Juifs, Musulmans, et aussi des laïcs. Don Patrick de Laubier, Nicolas Michel, Jean Ziegler, André Naftali Lévy, Réda Benkirane, ainsi que le Nonce, Mgr. Silvano Tommasi, et Michel Veuthey, Observateur permanent adjoint de l'Ordre de Malte à Genève, et 130 personnes, ont participé à cet événement le 31 octobre. En voici quelques photographies:

Un enregistrement audio est disponible :

Pour la vidéo, voir :




17/6/2014: Migration in Dignity and Security

Side event - Christians in the Middle East - 15.09.2014

During the last Human Rights Council, our Mission co-sponsored an event about the difficult situation that touches the Christian population in the Middle East. In a crowded room, the panelists passionately described the persecution that many Christian communities are facing due to the escalation of violence propelled by the Islamic group ISIS. For a short reportage on the event, please click here:

Migration is a worldwide phenomenon which has significantly influenced history and still is a major issue today. The aim of our side event at the Human Rights Council was to underline the necessity to conciliate dignity and security in migration flows, dignity and security of migrants, as well as of Governments and civil society, in countries of origin, transit and destination

16/9/2013: Peace and Human Rights

HRC - Side event - Right to Peace - 16.09.2013

Our Mission, together with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica and the Holy See, had the honor to organize a Side Event during the Session of the Human Rights Council aimed at exploring the philosophical and theological heritage of the papal encyclical ‘Pacem in Terris’. The event saw the participation of more than seventy career diplomats at the United Nations Offices in Geneva


11/6/2013: Facing Extreme Poverty +More Info



25/9/2012: A symphony to Religious Freedom +More Info



Our mission was proud to organize a concert with the Conservatory of Matera, which was joined by twelve fantastic Soloists from the Middle East. The event, sponsored by eight diplomatic missions, including the Holy See and Palestine, celebrated the beauty of our religious heritage and the freedom of our different faiths


19/5/2012: World Health Assembly