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Statement by the co-penholders for the Syria humanitarian file– Germany, Belgium and Kuwait –at the UN Security Council Briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria

19.09.2019 - Speech

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Thank you, Mr. President,

At the outset, let me thank Assistant Secretary General Müller for her comprehensive briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria. We once again reiterate our appreciation for all the efforts of humanitarian and medical personnel to alleviate human suffering in Syria.

Once again we heard from OCHA about the dire situation in north western Syria and the fragility of the unilateral ceasefire. The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance are staggering. There are almost three million people in Idlib, the vast majority of them are women and children.

Over half a million people have fled the violence over the past few months, some of them having to flee more than once. Over one thousand civilians have been killed. Hospitals, schools, and IDP locations have been targeted and destroyed by bombardments. If this does not move the Council to take action, what will?

That is why today we will be voting on a draft resolution proposed by the Syria humanitarian co-penholders, Kuwait,  Belgium and Germany. We have been negotiating this text in an inclusive, transparent and thorough manner for the past few weeks with all Council members. The aim of the text is purely humanitarian: It intends to protect the civilian population of Idlib from the ongoing offensive.

It also emphasizes that counter terrorism operations must be in compliance with international humanitarian law, respect the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution, and have to distinguish between the civilian population and combatants.

Civilians must never be the victims of a fight against terrorism. We hope that our resolution will gain the support of the entire Council, especially as its objective is a purely humanitarian one.  The Council must speak up in a united manner to address the immense human suffering faced by the civilian population of Idlib. We call for the Council to urgently take a unified stance in support of our humanitarian resolution.

We are also extremely concerned by the situation in other areas of Syria. In the south, 2.8 million people require humanitarian assistance. In Rukban, we continue to call for a sustainable solution for the thousands of people there.

In Al-Hol camp, where over 70,000 still receive humanitarian assistance, the situation remains deeply concerning, especially as women and children form over 90% of the camp’s population; they are highly vulnerable and need specific protection.

Mr. President,

The cross -border mechanism renewed under resolution 2449 remains a critical lifeline for millions of Syrians, particularly in the north west. The UN has repeatedly stated that there is no other way to provide support for these civilians. The continuation of this mechanism is essential to alleviating human suffering.

Finally, Mr. President, there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria. The only solution is a political one based on Security Council resolution 2254, and the Geneva communique of 2012. We reiterate our strong support for the efforts of Special Envoy Geir Pedersen.

 

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