A Plea From The Syrian Democratic Consultant Committee & Other Activists

04/30/2018

To the distinguished representatives:

 

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres

International Envoy to Syria, Stephane de Mistura EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mujerini

The Permanent Representatives to the United Nations:

The US Ambassador, Ms. Nikki Haley

The UK Ambassador, Ms. Karen Peirce

The French Ambassador, François Delattre

The Russian Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia

The Chinese Ambassador, Ma Zhaoxu

UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo

President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák, (kami@mzv.sk)

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, (InfoDesk@ohchr.org)

Security Council President, Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN

Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen Secretary General of the Arab Parliament, Mish’al Bin Fahad Al-Salmi

 

 

A Response to Brussels on the Syrian Crisis:

Activate the UN Principle of “Responsibility to Protect” Now

 

 

The world marks with sorrow the eighth anniversary of the Syrian tragedy, described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterich and other international officials as the worst tragedy of the modern era.

 

The victims of this tragedy have been denied a role in shaping the future of their country. They have been robbed off their right by forces and parties whose interests are in conflict with the interests and objectives of the Syrian people.

 

Media reports of the Brussels meeting ( 24-25 April 2018) reflected viewpoints far from representing the most affected segment in the Syrian tragedy. Some reports highlighted the pledge of some countries to provide financial aid, but ignored the likelihood that any aid would be seized by the regime, as has happened before with much international aid.

 

But they will not stop this human tragedy.

 

Such a plan is just like throwing dust in the victims’ eyes, ignoring the need to address the root of the tragic Syrian situation.

 

In light of this, we, the undersigned, members of the Democratic Syrian Consultants Committee, and other activists, as independent and non-partisan Syrian civilian figures, are not linked to the agendas of any country or parties other than to stand up for the rights of the Syrian people to freedom, dignity and the establishment of a state of institutions. We believe that there should be no further delay in implementing the UN principle of the Responsibility to Protect, in accordance with what Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez has called for:

 

Should national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, then we must be prepared to take collective action, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis.”

 

With regard of the Syrian case,” The reality on the ground across Syria demands swift action to protect civilians, alleviate suffering, prevent further instability, address the root causes of the conflict and forge, at long last, a durable political solution in line with resolution 2254 (2015),” as reiterated by the UN Secretary General.

 

It is futile after eight years to continue to wait for a binding resolution by the Security Council that would impose a just or even semi-just solution putting an end to the tragedy of millions of Syrians, ensure the future of next generations and protect them from being exploited by the advocates of extremism and revenge.

 

You cannot expropriate the self-determination rights of a vivid people, the offspring of thousands of years of civilization, by forcing them to choose the least bad option between the military regime or the rule of extremists. The Syrian population cannot be represented by any of them.

 

We also believe that the invitation sent by some European and UN officials to specific Syrian figures, asking for a unified statement by Syrians working inside and outside the control of the Syrian regime, is unrealistic, especially since those who organized the Brussels meeting are well aware that Syria has not experienced freedom of expression for decades.

 

Those invited to Brussels meeting under the name of civil society agreed to make political concessions in favor of the Assad regime which no opposition group has ever agreed to discuss before. Instead, under the pretext of neutrality, they refused to utter the term “war crimes”, for example, using a developmental term, “demographic engineering”.

 

Any civil society committed to human rights knows that one of the crimes that is taking place in Syria is the crime of forced demographic change after years of siege and starvation. The aim of this crime is to replace local populations with strangers and foreigners who would secure support and protection of the Assad regime and serve the agendas of its allies.

 

This was announced by the head of the regime himself Basha Assad in his speech about a homogeneous society, accusing millions of Syrian people of being the custodians of terrorism. Adding further insult, there was no mention of Law No. 10 on the acquisition of absentee property, which was condemned in the European Union talks with the United Nations and described as a treacherous plan. Further, there was no reference to how events unfolded, or responsibility for what happened in the country, or the need to prosecute the perpetrators without immunity to anyone.

 

The statement by those invited also refrained from describing the appalling violations committed by the regime, which were confirmed in the 13th report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

 

There are a number of shocking examples of violations by Syrian government forces against civilians. According to reports of the United Nations and human rights organizations, the current Syrian issue is a model example of the need for humanitarian intervention under the principle of Responsibility to Protection adopted by the United Nations in 2005: the Syrian government has perpetrated indiscriminate and systematic widespread attacks on civilians, which clearly establishes the case of crimes against humanity.

 

In light of all this, and in light of the repeated inability of the UN Security Council to reach an urgent and lasting solution to the Syrian crisis, we call for the activation of the principle of Responsibility to Protect described by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his address to the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 1999. This humanitarian intervention in Syria will be in harmony with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

 

Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on the international community represented by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and on all secretaries of the international and regional organizations, including the Arab league, to act immediately to activate the principle of Responsibility to Protect to achieve the following:

 

  1. To force an immediate cease-fire and a dispatch of international observers to all areas of combat in Syria. Such a plan should include an accurate implementation mechanism to avoid repeating the tragedy of forcible evacuation of civilians and to spare their areas from being handed over to hostile militias or to the regime (as was the case in implementing resolution 2328 for the city of Aleppo), and to prohibit using the pretext of “fighting terrorism” in bombing populated cities and areas (as is the case now in implementing resolution 2401).
  2. To ensure safe return of all refugees and displaced persons and give the people the right to demonstrate and organize sit-ins and protests in the presence of free media to express their opinions without repression or threats.
  3. To de-legitimize the Syrian regime, which has not only persisted in its war of genocide against the Syrian people, but is still deceiving the international community and flagrantly violates the resolutions of the United Nations.
  4. To release all detainees and provide records on those whose fate is unknown.
  5. To refer the Syrian file to the International Criminal Court, and the need to hold war criminals and human rights violators accountable, starting with the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the security services officials who led the arrest of persons without fair trials, and including the leaders of sectarian and terrorist militias.

With regard to a political solution in Syria, the signatories stress the significance of adherence to the Geneva approach 1 and the UN resolutions 2118 and 2254 in order to eliminate the tyrannical regime with all its pillars, and to achieve a political process with set goals and a timetable for the establishment of a democratic state ruled under a constitution set by Syrians without any guardianship and in an appropriate environment after a full civil government has been established and whose constitution complies with the separation of religion and state, and is committed to equal rights and citizenship for all without distinction as to race, creed, belief or sex.

 

Arabic version

One Reply to “A Plea From The Syrian Democratic Consultant Committee & Other Activists”

  1. All free Syrians need to stand together for such goals in this plea to urge the international community respond and act to force the Syrian regime and its allies to comply with UN resolutions on Syria. Thank you SDCC

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