Explanation of Vote by the United States on the Submission of Draft Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
United States Representative for United Nations Management & Reform
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
November 5, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States appreciates the Bureau’s decision to bring this matter forward today, which will determine if the Third Committee will discuss and consider a resolution on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as it has done for the past eight years. We urge all countries to vote YES on the proposal before them, which will ensure the draft resolution will be considered later this session. This Committee has consistently considered and adopted a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic during all General Assembly sessions since the conflict began in 2011. Furthermore, as the situation has global impact, this text is important to many delegations across all regions, including for the United States.

2019 is no exception, as the international community is focused closely on this human rights crisis. Indeed, the Secretary General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other senior UN officials regularly address the dire and increasingly deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. And our citizens are horrified by reports of the plight of the Syrian people, with images on the news and front pages of newspapers nearly daily. A good faith misunderstanding led to the tabling of the resolution three and a half hours after the deadline. Not addressing the suffering of millions of people that has continued for nearly a decade due to a three and a half hour delay in tabling a resolution is unconscionable and would require a unique apathy and detachment from reality. The UN, civil society, international community, and our own citizens hold us responsible for drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses around the world.

The decision we are voting on today is not about the merits or the substance of the resolution, but rather fulfilling the moral responsibility we have as the Committee charged with considering human rights violations wherever they may occur. Permitting consideration of the resolution does not prejudge the outcome of a potential future vote on the substance of the resolution itself.

Some delegations may put forward technical arguments aimed at preventing the Committee’s consideration of the human rights situation in Syria. We should not permit procedural obfuscation to obstruct this Committee’s consideration of this important issue. We should exercise our authority to address the issue and hold ourselves and this Committee to the highest standards possible in responding to human rights violations.

To this end, we urge all delegations to vote in favor of accepting the Third Committee’s consideration of the draft resolution on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.