Mr. President,

I would like to join my colleagues in thanking Special Envoy Pedersen and OCHA's Director of Operations, Ms Wosornu, as well as Ms Jarbawi, for their presentations.

Switzerland associates itself with the statement made by Brazil, our co-penholder on the humanitarian issue. I would also like to echo the thanks to OCHA for their great commitment. Allow me to add a few points in my national capacity on the political situation in Syria.

As all the speakers confirmed, the situation in the country remains very worrying. The security situation, particularly in the north of the country, has a major impact on the civilian population, who are all too often the victims of direct or indiscriminate attacks. Switzerland calls on all parties to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities. The introduction of a nationwide ceasefire, as prescribed by Resolution 2254, is more necessary and urgent than ever if the country is to emerge from the deep humanitarian, social and economic crisis in which it is plunged. We also recall that Syria has an obligation to respect and protect the human rights of every individual.

Switzerland welcomes Special Envoy Pedersen's recent contacts in the region, including in Damascus. We hope that these contacts will advance his “step-by-step” approach, according to the mandate conferred to him by this Council and put forward by regional players in the wake of the Amman, Cairo and Jeddah declarations this year. A substantial meeting of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible, under the auspices of the Special Envoy, would be an important step towards relaunching the political process on the basis of Resolution 2254.

The Council must also play a role in the fight against impunity, which is another sine qua non condition for lasting peace in Syria.

The demonstrations that have been taking place in Sweida for several weeks now show that a political solution to the conflict is still essential. Switzerland calls for respect for the right to demonstrate freely and to make one's voice heard without being subjected to repression and violence.

Switzerland consistently supports the close cooperation between the Office of the Special Envoy and the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR). The aspirations, grievances and expectations of civil society and of Syrian women in particular, with whom I have had the pleasure and honor of several meetings, and whose enormous commitment and courage I have always admired, must be included in efforts to achieve a lasting political solution. These platforms are important transmission belts between the reality on the ground in Syria and the international bodies. In this respect, Switzerland reiterates its support for civil society organisations active inside and outside Syria, which play a crucial role in easing the tensions and conflicts still at work in the country.

Mr. President,

Switzerland takes note of the Syrian decision of 4 September to abolish the military field courts. We call for this measure to be effectively implemented in order to prevent future arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances of civilians and that it does not prejudice the search for missing persons. Furthermore, the implementation of confidence-building measures, according to Resolution 2254 and by all parties, including the release of detainees and the clarification of the fate of missing persons, are essential to pave the way for reconciliation in the country.

Thank you.

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