Mr. President

I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa and the Director of OCHA for their presentations. Let me express my particular gratitude to Limiaa Ahmed for her courageous and alarming testimony.

The continuing suffering of the Sudanese people and the enormous toll being paid by civilians are unacceptable. We are shocked by the brutal violence against them, with this month's massacre in Wad An-Noura, allegedly committed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), as just one of the latest examples. With the siege of El Fasher and fighting continuing in other parts of the country, it is likely that further atrocities will come to light. Ensuring accountability for all these crimes is essential. This point was also made by the Fact-Finding Mission at the Human Rights Council today.

By adopting resolution 2736, this Council has sent a strong and clear message to the RSF, and indeed to all parties to the conflict, to cease hostilities immediately. In this regard, I reiterate the following points:

First of all, respect for international law, in particular international humanitarian law and human rights law, is not a choice but an obligation. Switzerland strongly condemns all violations in this respect, in particular sexual violence against women and girls. Moreover, the latest annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict shows a sharp increase in grave violations of children's rights, including verified cases of recruitment for active combat, in particular in Darfur. The parties listed in the report for such violations must immediately engage with the UN to define concrete measures to end such violations. We also reiterate our call, and that of this Council, to Member States to respect the arms embargo, whose violations are subject to sanctions under Resolution 1591, and to refrain from any external interference that fuels the conflict.

Second, humanitarian and medical personnel and facilities must be protected in accordance with international law, as set out in resolutions 2286 and 2730. We are dismayed by the continuing attacks, including last week's RSF attack on the Southern Hospital in El Fasher, one of the only remaining functioning hospitals in the region. Switzerland condemns these acts in the strongest possible terms. We express our sincere condolences to the various organisations for the loss of their staff, most of whom were locals. The latest cases concern MSF, Relief International and the Sudanese Red Crescent.

Third, the imminent risk of starvation for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese was highlighted in Resolution 2736. The parties have an urgent responsibility to facilitate rapid, safe and unhindered access across borders and front lines. This is particularly urgent ahead of the rainy season, which will further complicate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We acknowledge the progress made by the Sudanese authorities in recent weeks on visas and travel permits. We call for continued cooperation in this regard. Switzerland continues to fund the humanitarian response and underlines the importance of respecting the commitments made at the Paris Conference.

To conclude, a negotiated and lasting solution remains the only way out of this conflict. It will not be resolved on the battlefield. The parties must return to the negotiating table to find a peaceful, inclusive and Sudanese-led solution. We fully support the Personal Envoy’s efforts at all levels. This includes the planed retreat of the African Union, the League of Arab States, the European Union, IGAD and the UN in Djibouti, announced at the consultative conference held in Cairo last week.

Mr. President

In the face of this man-made tragedy, we must remain united in our commitment to ending the conflict, revitalizing the political process and meeting to the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a lasting and just peace. Resolution 2736 must be fully implemented.

Thank you.

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