Mr. President,

I would like to thank the representatives of OCHA, FAO and WFP for their presentations and also of the proposed measures. Switzerland is grateful for the ongoing and brave commitment of all the humanitarian actors and local frontline responders to the disastrous situation Sudanese people are facing – « the stuff of nightmares », as Mrs. Wosornu called it.

We are appalled by the alarming level of food insecurity and by the real risk of famine, which is in fact more than a risk, but which is now materializing. The main cause of this is the devastating conflict that continues unabated. Switzerland, as the Council's focal point on conflict and hunger, together with Guyana, welcomes the early warning mechanism established by this Resolution 2417. In the same resolution, this Council undertook to examine ways of translating early warnings into concrete action. We must act together now before millions of people die of hunger.

In view of this situation, and in line with the recommendations contained in the note, Switzerland would like to highlight three points in particular:

Firstly, we call on the parties to the conflict to immediately silence their weapons and engage in dialogue around a political solution to end this war which has gone on for far too long. A fortnight ago, this Council called on the parties to immediately cease hostilities during the month of Ramadan. This decision must now be respected. On the ground, however, the fighting continues unabated. The implementation of Resolution 2724 is crucial if humanitarian aid is to be delivered quickly, safely and unhindered across borders and front lines. The bureaucratic and administrative obstacles facing humanitarian actors must be removed immediately.

Secondly – and here I would like to echo Mr. Martina from the FAO – we reiterate that the parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The use of starvation as a weapon of war against the civilian population is prohibited and constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute. Moreover, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population are specifically protected by international humanitarian law, which prohibits the parties from attacking, destroying or rendering useless such objects. Lastly, the parties must authorize and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid intended for civilians in need. It is essential that those responsible for violations of these obligations be held accountable for their actions.

Thirdly, the most vulnerable people must be protected. In this context of acute food insecurity and generalized conflict, women and girls are on the front line in the search for means of subsistence. They are consequently exposed to major protection challenges, particularly sexual and gender-based violence. Moreover, the resilience of communities hosting internally displaced persons must be strengthened through an integrated assistance approach.

Mr. President,

The window of opportunity to reverse this catastrophic food crisis is rapidly closing. We therefore welcome the donors' conference to be held in Paris on 15 April, in which Switzerland will be participating. However, financial aid is not enough. It is essential to continue all diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting, find a peaceful solution to the conflict and, in the meantime, to call on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. This Council must therefore assume its responsibility, as it decided unanimously five years ago when it adopted Resolution 2417, and remain mobilized to break the vicious circle between armed conflict and hunger.

Thank you.

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