Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2020
The United States has co-authored this much-needed resolution that addresses the appalling human rights situation in Syria. We thank our cross-regional core group and all of the resolution’s co-sponsors for their support. We strongly encourage all United Nations members to vote yes in support of this resolution. Following my statement, I kindly ask the Secretariat to read the oral revisions agreed to by the core group and co-sponsors.
The resolution before us demands that the Assad regime ends its relentless assault on its own people and respect their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
This resolution highlights crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Assad regime. The regime’s egregious actions include the slaughter and arbitrary detention of peaceful protestors, mass displacement of civilians, the torture and killings of detainees, the use of chemical weapons, the deaths of humanitarian aid workers, and the denial of humanitarian assistance.
The resolution draws attention to the deplorable closure of the Bab al Salam and al-Yaroubiya border crossings that has disrupted humanitarian aid and deepened the suffering of millions of Syrians. Given the Council’s failure to re-authorize existing crossings earlier this year, new and additional crossings are even more important now to ensure lifesaving assistance gets through.
This resolution includes strengthened references to the Women, Peace and Security agenda as well as UN Security Council Resolution 2745, reaffirming our commitment to protecting civilians, including those with disabilities, in armed conflict. Far too many people with disabilities have been forced from their homes or have been horrifically disabled as a result of the conflict.
Today’s resolution calls on the Third Committee for the first time to hold an Interactive Dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry during the 76th Session of the General Assembly. This will provide an important opportunity for the Commission of Inquiry to present its findings to the General Assembly and allow UN Member States to confront the Assad regime for its atrocities.
The United States stands firm with the Commission of Inquiry, and other UN mechanisms and agencies and courageous Syrian civil society groups as they document the regime’s outrageous abuses and violations.
The resolution also draws attention to the impact of COVID-19. Tens of thousands of Syrians detained by the Assad regime are at an even higher risk of exposure under inhumane conditions without access to adequate health care or access to lawyers and fair trials.
Ten years into this conflict, a nationwide ceasefire has never been more urgently needed. Member states must push back against the Assad regime and its enablers who disrupt earnest attempts to reach a political resolution in accordance with Resolution 2254.
This resolution should be supported by all UN member states so we can deliver a powerful message that the world has not abandoned millions of Syrians who deserve to live in peace and security. We urge all Member States to vote in favor of the resolution and its important focus on the human rights of the Syrian people.