I thank Special Representative Haysom and the Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Major General Gituai, for their briefings. We also thank our partner Sant'Egidio, and express our appreciation for their efforts to facilitate an inclusive dialogue to advance lasting peace in South Sudan. I also welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of South Sudan.
At the outset, I would like to commend the solidarity shown by South Sudan towards those fleeing the devastating conflict in Sudan, as well as the efforts made by the Government to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The consequences of this conflict are placing an increased pressure on social cohesion, the political situation as well as on humanitarian needs and related responses in South Sudan. We therefore pledged additional funding at the High-Level Event to support the humanitarian response in Sudan and the region, held yesterday in Geneva.
While the international community's attention is focused on Sudan, efforts must be redoubled to achieve key milestones of the transition that will determine the future of South Sudan. Switzerland reiterates its commitment to supporting the Government and people of South Sudan in this endeavor.
Allow me to highlight three issues:
First, with regard to the political process, we strongly encourage the parties to adhere to the deadlines set out in the Roadmap and to establish the institutions it provides for without delay. The approval of the electoral law and the establishment of the Joint Taskforce to support the drafting of the constitution and the electoral process are encouraging steps. Developing a new constitution must be done in an inclusive way, taking into account the voices of all, including those of women and young people. In collaboration with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other partners, Switzerland supported a debate on constitutional governance, organized by the University of Juba. For such debates - which can help to increase the acceptance of the new constitution - political and civic space that guarantees freedom of expression, assembly and press, is fundamental.
Second, in terms of international law, the protection of civilians remains essential to the successful completion of the political transition. Despite a drop in intercommunal and subnational violence, we are concerned by the marked increase in human rights violations and violent incidents affecting the population. In this context, we express our deep concern at the renewed violence at the Protection of Civilian Site in Malakal. We call on all parties to promote conflict prevention, also in view of the impact that the conflict in Sudan could have on the social fabric, especially in the border areas. We emphasize the importance of promoting accountability in order to break the cycles of violence. We therefore welcome UNMISS’ support to the Government in deploying ad-hoc and mobile courts to strengthen the rule of law.
Third, we remain deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which affects more than three-quarters of the population. To date, only 30% of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 has been funded. The international community must do more to meet these fundamental needs. In this context, attacks on humanitarian personnel and convoys are unacceptable, illegal and must cease immediately. We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and to allow and facilitate the safe, rapid and unhindered passage of humanitarian aid. We commend UNMISS for providing protective escorts to humanitarian partners, enabling food to be distributed before the onset of the rainy season.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our full support to the Special Representative and to UNMISS. Its new mandate underlines the need to take into account the negative effects of climate change, and confirms the importance of protecting civilians and fully implementing the Roadmap.
The coming months will require all actors to work together to meet the needs and expectations of the population. To this end, Switzerland recently renewed its partnership with the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM), which are key instruments for moving forward the transition.