16 May, 2023
HSC Fellow Oliver Hegglin has been featured in an article from the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation following the country’s reliance on other nations to evacuate its nationals from crisis-hit Sudan. This inability of Switzerland to evacuate its citizens using its own assets has been a subject of some controversy domestically. While as a neutral nation the Swiss would not have a requirement for a strategic airlift capability to support military operations, such aircraft are also indispensable in humanitarian crises. Procurement of such a type has been proposed, but is opposed by a coalition of right-wingers who object to Swiss military operations in other countries, and those on the left who support humanitarian operations, but are against acquiring capabilities with a military dimension.
The broadcaster quoted a piece of previous work by Oliver, also a Swiss Army officer, in which he stated that the absence of a Swiss airlift capability represented a “stain on the country’s humanitarian tradition and a betrayal to Swiss citizens abroad who are at the mercy of other states in times of need”. The latter warning has now been played out in public view once again following similar failures amidst the evacuation of Kabul in 2021.
The full article can be accessed in the following languages via the respective links: