Mr President,

Like my colleagues, I would like to thank our colleague from Ghana for his report, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Volker Perthes, the Director of Operations of OCHA, Edem Wosornu, for their presentations, and Mrs Mayada Adil for giving such a strong voice to the victims.

First of all, like others, I would like to express my sincere and deep gratitude to Volker Perthes for his tireless commitment to peace in Sudan, and I wish him all the best for the future. I would also like to thank the UN staff for all their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people.

As the Secretary-General says notes in his report, it is essential that the voices of civilians are not drowned out by the sound of bullets. Their testimonies remind us of our collective responsibility to protect civilians and support them in their aspirations for lasting peace. And I would like to say to Mrs Adil that we listened carefully to the strong testimonies and your appeal to us.

Allow me to highlight three points:

Firstly, the fighting must stop immediately and the parties must renounce the pursuit of a military victory. The high number of casualties and displaced persons among the civilian population, the appalling increase in serious violations of children's rights and the large-scale destruction of infrastructure paint a bleak picture. We condemn all violence against civilians and reiterate our call on all parties, including the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), to respect international humanitarian and human rights law. In Darfur, ethnic killings, summary executions and sexual and gender-based violence continue to be reported. It's all nightmarish déjà vu for the people of Sudan. As the High Commissioner for Human Rights rightly pointed out in June, yesterday's impunity has fuelled today's cycle of violence. To break this cycle, those responsible must be prosecuted and brought to justice. All allegations of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated thoroughly, impartially, independently and without delay. We are grateful to those who continue to risk their lives to document the facts on the ground. We encourage UNITAMS to continue its support for these activities.

Secondly, humanitarian efforts in Sudan and the region remain at the centre of our concern, and we also heard Mrs Wosornu's sombre account. We remind all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to civilians in need, and to protect medical personnel and especially infrastructure. Switzerland urgently calls on the parties to the conflict to explore all possible options in order to agree on the measures to be taken to this end.  Furthermore, Switzerland remains committed to the humanitarian response in Sudan, as well as in the countries affected by this crisis. It welcomes the generous way in which countries in the region are receiving people fleeing the conflict, which requires additional resources, and calls for borders to be kept open. We also welcome the access to North and South Darfur that OCHA has managed to negotiate in recent days.

Thirdly, a return to an inclusive political process is the only credible and sustainable solution to this conflict. In order to create space for dialogue, we urge the parties to the conflict to resume negotiations in good faith with a view to a lasting ceasefire. In this respect, Switzerland welcomes the diplomatic efforts currently being made, which must be closely coordinated and complementary in order to achieve lasting results and put an end to the violence and destruction. We also support the Secretary-General's appeal to include women who - and we heard many examples of this - are courageously and resolutely committed to peace in the ceasefire negotiations and in any future dialogue process. The joint press briefing held this morning by the signatories of the Statement of Shared Commitments for the principles of Women, Peace, and Security, reiterated the call to protect these women from any threats to their security.

As the conflict in Sudan enters its sixth month, we must redouble our efforts to prevent it from once again falling into the abyss of atrocious violations. I would like to reiterate Switzerland's full support for UNITAMS and for the UN's continuing role in Sudan. As the Secretary-General's Special Representative has just said, it is a country “of tremendous potential".

Switzerland remains determined to work alongside the UN and the Sudanese people so that they may realise their aspirations for peace, justice and democratic governance.

Thank you.

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