We thank Germany for the organization of today’s debate and for the invitation to speak as Co-Chair, together with the Netherlands, of the international humanitarian law and human rights working group of the Berlin process.
Switzerland is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation in Libya, and calls on all parties to the armed conflict to respect international humanitarian law in all circumstances. We also urge all those who bear responsibilities to fully respect and protect human rights. Switzerland thus supported the establishment of an independent, international and impartial fact-finding mission, knowing that investigation of violations is essential to guarantee accountability.
In order for the Berlin process working group to successfully implement its mandate, it requires not only the full backing of the Libyans, but also of the international community, and in particular of this distinguished Council. Three issues should be immediately acted upon:
1. First, the cessation of hostilities. For any progress towards sustaining peace to be achieved, it is now time to silence the weapons and to call all parties to the negotiation table. Therefore, we support the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire and welcome the adoption of the Security Council resolution 2532. As one of the host countries of the peace talks led by the United Nations, we will continue to support their organization in Geneva.
2. Second, in light of the deterioration of the situation in Libya, UNSMIL needs a robust mandate to be able to monitor and report violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law on the ground, as well as to ensure close follow-up of the Berlin process. Therefore, Switzerland strongly encourages the strengthening of the Human Rights component of UNSMIL through the allocation of necessary resources.
3. Finally, the peace efforts must include and reach out to relevant Libyan stakeholders, including the civil society, in order to ensure the inclusive nature of the Berlin process and anchor it in the reality on the ground. For this purpose, in its role as co-chair, Switzerland will aim for tangible
progress, in particular in regard to key humanitarian aspects, such as improving the humanitarian access and ensuring the protection and assistance of the civilian population.
Before closing, let me address the issue of the establishment of a demilitarized zone around Sirte and Jufra, which has been referred to. It certainly has the potential to prevent the emergence of renewed hostility amongst parties to the conflict. Of course, its operational modalities would need to be looked at in detail. In the meantime, in its capacity of Co-chair of the IHL-HR working group of the Berlin process, Switzerland calls upon all countries to exert their influence over the parties in order to agree on a ceasefire as a matter of emergency.
In line with its longstanding commitment and holistic approach to Libya, Switzerland will continue promoting cooperation across conflict lines and supporting Libyan officials in overcoming the institutional divides.