I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Martha Pobee, and the Director of Operations of OCHA, Edem Wosornu, for their moving presentations. I also welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of Sudan. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all UN staff for their tireless efforts, and reaffirm Switzerland's full support for UNITAMS and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Volker Perthes.
The last time we met in this chamber to discuss the situation in Sudan, we expressed our shared concern that the continued fighting could plunge Sudan into a humanitarian catastrophe. Since then, the situation has deteriorated further and we are witnessing a new escalation of violence accompanied by serious violations of international law.
In this context, I would like to highlight three points:
Firstly, it is unacceptable that this conflict is being waged with no regard for the price being paid by the population. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuing violence and attacks against civilians. From Darfur we are receiving alarming allegations of ethnic killings, summary executions and sexual and gender-based violence committed primarily by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias. Serious violations of children's rights are committed on a daily basis. We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian and human rights law. It is essential that those responsible are held accountable for their actions in an effort to bring justice to the victims and prevent future violations. We would like to recognise those who risk their lives to document the facts on the ground. Switzerland joins the calls for thorough, impartial, independent and timely investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. In addition, the resurgence of violence in North and South Kordofan and in Blue Nile only contributes to the worsening of the conflict.
Secondly, we reiterate our call on the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF to facilitate safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need, and to protect medical personnel and facilities, in accordance with international humanitarian law and the Jeddah Declaration. Nearly four million people, half of them children, have fled the conflict in search of protection and essential goods. The figures keep rising. Millions of people are on the brink of starvation as a result of the conflict, as we pointed out in our intervention in the open debate last Thursday. We welcome the fact that countries in the region have welcomed people fleeing the conflict, and we reiterate the calls made in recent months for borders to remain open. Switzerland will continue to support humanitarian efforts in Sudan and the region.
Thirdly, we call on the parties to resume negotiations in good faith with a view to reaching a lasting ceasefire. In this respect, Switzerland welcomes the current diplomatic efforts. Close coordination and complementarity of these initiatives are essential if lasting results are to be achieved and the spiral of violence and destruction halted. With a view to a possible return to a political process, the inclusive participation of civilian actors is essential.
The suffering of the Sudanese people cannot end until the fighting ceases. As members of this Council, we must therefore redouble our efforts to bring an end to this devastating conflict. A united Council is critical to ensure we can fully support ongoing mediation efforts. Switzerland remains committed to working alongside the Sudanese people to realise their aspirations for peace, justice and democratic governance.