Delegation: The Swiss ConfederationCommittee: Special Political and Decolonisation CommitteeAgenda A: The Conflict in South SudanThere are few countries in the world which have been victim to a more devastating civil war than the one South Sudan is embroiled in today. What began as a power struggle between the two soon took shape of a traumatic ethnic conflict, with a UN commission on human rights stating that a process of ethnic cleansing was underway in Juba in 2016. Today, with more than 900,000 civilians having fled their country and over 2 million people having lost their lives, the conflict has escalated into a full blown civil war. With the breakout of famine in 2017, which was termed as a “man made catastrophe” by the UN, it is clear that the South Sudanese are in dire need of international attention and aid. Moreover, the maternal mortality rate is one of the world’s highest due to a dearth of sufficient healthcare facilities and there exists an incredibly high risk of contracting infectious diseases like typhoid, cholera, etc. All this along with the literacy rate of 27% and just 200 kilometres of paved roads proves that the education, healthcare and infrastructure in South Sudan are in shambles.
It’s also one of the most unsafe places for UN peacekeeping forces in the world with more than 60 cases of abuse and assault against peacekeepers being registered in the past few years. State-building and peace-building measures in South Sudan have not always converged, and numerous cease-fire agreements between the government and the rebel forces have been signed and violated time and again, the most recent violation being in January 2018. Because of the persistent conflict, the government is spending most of its meagre 2.628 dollar GDP on military expenditure and the rebels are gaining weapons by illegal arms trade. Over the years, there have been various reports of human rights violations and war crimes inflicted upon the civilians by the government as well as the rebel armed forces. According to facts, this is the biggest humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen.
The Swiss confederation has always believed that human rights are a necessity for our societies and an invaluable ingredient to boost peace. Human rights have always been at the heart of the values represented by Switzerland in its political model, and the same belief has been extended in its foreign policy of providing humanitarian aid to the nations suffering from the ravages of war. Its engagement in the region started with aid operations in 1994 during the second Sudanese civil war, long before South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011. It was an active participant in the negotiations and the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, following the signing of which it increased its presence in South Sudan by establishing a Programme Office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Juba. Its activities include food security, access to drinking water and provision of basic sanitation, as well as protection and care of refugees.
The Human Security Division (HSD) of the SDC is also active in the peace process in South Sudan and participates in the discussion on effective and inclusive governance. The framework of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for South Sudan 2017-2020 prioritises food security and provision of livelihoods, protection of civilians and the protection of human rights, along with development aid, assistance in conflict resolution and expert staff officers and mine action specialists. Since 2015, the Swiss Confederation has been spending CHF 20 million on the provision of humanitarian aid to South Sudan.
The international community today stands at an important juncture.The Swiss Confederation believes that the steps we take today have the potential and the capacity to redefine the term ‘Humanity’ for the future generations to come. The conflict in South Sudan is complexly multi-faceted, intricately layered and growing the day. We sincerely hope that through the SPECPOL committee, all the member states will be able to unwind these layers one by one and reach a consensus to suggest pragmatic solutions to not only end the conflict, but to make the country self-sufficient in every means possible. The Swiss Confederation considers representation for all 60 ethnicities in the government to be the paramount solution to the issue at hand. It believes that it is imperative for South Sudan to reduce its economic dependency on oil trade and invest in other high potential industries like agriculture and hydropower as that will not only boost their economy, but create employment opportunities as well.
It also hopes that the committee can come up with solutions to resolve the oil, border and territory disputes South Sudan has with Sudan.