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United Nations General Assembly (UN)
United Nations General Assembly (UN)

UN General Assembly Text Condemning Violence in Syria

(Dp-news - UN)

United Nations- As the General Assembly on Wednesday took action on a resolution addressing the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, delegations strongly condemned the ongoing violence and called for involved parties to immediately end the hostilities on all sides, and work together for an inclusive Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system.



Under terms of the resolution, the Assembly strongly condemned the Syrian authorities’ continued and escalating use of heavy weapons, ballistic missiles and cluster munitions, including indiscriminate shelling from tanks and aircraft, against population centers. It also demanded that all violations of international humanitarian law ceased.





Syrian authorities were called to cooperate with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry and with the Secretary-General’s investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons. The text also demanded that both entities be granted full and unfettered entry and access to Syria. Further, authorities were to strictly observe their obligations under international law with respect to chemical and biological weapons.



The resolution, while also stating grave concern at the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons, deplored the deteriorating humanitarian situation and demanded that the authorities facilitate access for humanitarian organizations. It also urged the international community to provide financial support to enable host countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees and affected communities.



Vuk Jeremić, President of the General Assembly, opened the session, stating that the Assembly had gathered to “express the conscience of the international community”.

Efforts were needed to focus on an immediate and unconditional end to the violence, and on engaging the involved parties in dialogue. It was necessary to build on the 2012 agreement that had been reached by the Action Group for Syria in Geneva, and just reinvigorated a few days ago in Moscow. Once the political process got moving, Syrians could reconcile and freely determine their own future.



The crisis was “a grave test” for the United Nations and the world, he said. He warned of the potential damage facing the Organization if it failed to stop what was fast becoming the most horrific humanitarian catastrophe of recent times. “If we are unable to do anything to stop this tragedy, then how can we sustain the moral credibility of the Organization?” he asked. “It is high time to say enough is enough.”



Introducing the draft resolution, the representative of Qatar stressed that the text was objective, balanced and fair, including those sections condemning violence. The Arab League’s leadership on finding a solution to the Syrian crisis conformed to Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and, despite the urgency of the matter, the draft prioritized consultations and consensus.



However, Syria’s delegate opposed the resolution, stating that his Government had continued to react positively to peace initiatives and had remained committed to achieving a “Syrian-led comprehensive national dialogue” that would include the opposition. Opposition forces that rejected dialogue needed to adhere to the will of the “great majority of the Syrian people”, which favoured a political solution.


Nonetheless, the representative of Saudi Arabia disagreed, stating that al-Assad regime had continuously rejected the international community’s concerns over the hostilities. He pointed out that Syria had tried to make the issue appear to be a conflict between itself and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. That was just an attempt to divert attention from the “abundant” fact that it was a conflict between the Syrian Government and its opposition.



While acknowledging the gravity and severity of the situation, some speakers expressed concerns over the text. The Russian Federation’s representative called the draft “harmful and destructive”, saying that the authors were not pursuing a political solution. The resolution pushed to replace the official Government of Syria by only recognizing the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. That could encourage the opposition to continue fighting and undermine Syria’s sovereignty.



Several representatives echoed that stance, with Bolivia’s delegate also pointing out that the resolution had not been discussed broadly or transparently. Entire regions’ concerns had been unaccounted for. The resolution sought to “put out a fire by putting gasoline on it”, he said, and was biased and unbalanced, with no responsibility being given to the National Coalition for atrocities committed.



France’s delegate refuted such criticism by highlighting the resolution’s balanced nature.

It not only condemned violence and violations of human rights committed by both sides, it did not recognize the National Coalition as the only opposition party. Instead, the National Coalition was an intermediary of political transition. Honest evaluation of the text was needed.



Also speaking during the debate on the draft were representatives of the United States, Turkey, China, South Africa, Iran, Venezuela, Malaysia, and the United Republic of Tanzania.



The representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Ecuador, Argentina, Cuba, Pakistan, Brazil, India, Chile, Singapore, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Thailand, Switzerland, Peru, Paraguay, Serbia, Jamaica, Mexico, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas all made statements in explanation of their votes.



A representative of the Delegation of the European Union also made a statement, as did the Permanent Observer for the Holy See.



Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of Syria.



By the text, the Assembly would strongly condemn the Syrian authorities’ continued and escalating use of heavy weapons, ballistic missiles and cluster munitions, including indiscriminate shelling from tanks and aircraft, against population centers. It would condemn all forms of violence and call upon all parties to immediately end such acts, as well as demand that all violations of international humanitarian law cease.



The Assembly demand that the Syrian authorities immediately release all persons arbitrarily detained; strongly condemn the shelling and shooting by the Syrian Armed Forces into neighbouring countries; and demand that the authorities cooperate fully with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry and individuals working on its behalf, granting them full and unfettered entry and access to all areas in Syria. It also demand that they grant the same access to the Secretary-General for his investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons. It would demand that the authorities strictly observe their obligations under international law with respect to chemical and biological weapons.



Further, the Assembly would deplore the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the failure to ensure safe, timely humanitarian aid to all affected areas; demand that the authorities facilitate access for humanitarian organizations to all people in need; strongly condemn all attacks and threats of violence against humanitarian personnel, and medical facilities and vehicles; condemn all attacks on, detentions of and threats of violence against United Nations personnel; and express grave concern at the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the ongoing violence.



The Assembly would urge the international community to provide urgent financial support to enable host countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees and affected communities; and urge all donors to expeditiously finance support to the United Nations, other humanitarian actors and host countries to implement the humanitarian response plan and the regional refugee response plan.



Moreover, the Assembly would reiterate its call for an inclusive Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system. It would ask the Secretary-General to provide support and assistance for implementing the transition plan set forth in the final communiqué of the Action Group for Syria.



The Assembly then adopted the text by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 12 against, with 59 abstentions.

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