Madam President, 

Switzerland voted in favor of the draft resolution, and regrets that it was not adopted despite the very broad support it enjoys among the members of this Council.

I would like to thank the Algerian delegation for its efforts in building consensus around this text, which calls in particular for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held captive in Gaza since the acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas on October 7. 

Almost three weeks have passed since the first draft of this text was submitted. Switzerland welcomed the intense negotiations taking place in the region, and stressed the need to give them the necessary time to reach a result. At the same time, we stressed the responsibility of this Council to act - in accordance with its mandate - for the respect of international humanitarian law and above all the protection of civilians. 

We regret that a firmer and more explicit condemnation of Hamas's acts of terror was not included in the resolution, despite the injunctions of several Council members, including Switzerland.

However, the need to protect the civilian population in Gaza is growing by the day. Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights, particularly as regards the protection of civilians, must remain a priority for this Council. Under the Geneva Conventions, the delivery of humanitarian aid must be safe, rapid and unimpeded.  We cannot allow hundreds of thousands of besieged civilians to be left prey to famine and epidemics, without adequate guarantees of security for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for their own protection. 

In addition, Switzerland is very concerned about the risk of a large-scale military operation in Rafah and the subsequent regional escalation it could entail. The draft resolution was therefore intended as a preventive measure against further escalation on the spot, which would endanger the lives of all civilians, including the hostages.   

This is why the call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza is in line with our collective commitment to respect and ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions, and international humanitarian law, in all circumstances. 

Switzerland remains committed to unified action by the Council in this direction. We also recall that the parties are obliged to respect the two previous Council resolutions on this subject. And we also recall the mandatory nature of the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice on January 26.

Thank you.