“Bashar al-Assad must go. There’s no political solution with him. He is a threat, he’s continuing with unbelievable violence to massacre the people, destroy cities and kill women and children – we’ve had evidence of this again in the past few days. It is intolerable for the human conscience, unacceptable for the region’s security and stability. The matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court so that those responsible for these atrocities one day stand trial. I want to be clear: France shoulders all her responsibilities and spares no effort in order for the Syrian people to gain their freedom and security.”
François Hollande, President of the French Republic, 27 August 2012
On 30 July 2014, the Security Council held a public meeting to hear Mrs. Valerie Amos, head of OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
The Representative of France welcomed the adoption of resolution 2165, adopted on 14 July, and which opens four border crossing points for the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid. He also praised the prompt action of the United Nations and dedication of the humanitarian workers. However, although the first convoy had been delivered, access to areas with humanitarian need was still insufficient. It was unacceptable that the Syrian regime continues to block the provision of humanitarian assistance and to step up controls at cross-lines to curb the effects of resolution 2165.
On 7 July 2014, the members of the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear Mrs. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, on progress made by the Mission to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program pursuant to resolution 2118.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that an important step had been taken for destruction of the Syrian arsenal but further efforts still had to be made. He insisted on the Security Council’s need to remain vigilant regards the destruction of Syrian production facilities in accordance with OPCU standards. The Permanent Representative further recalled that there was growing evidence regarding the use of chlorine gas by the regime. Finally, he emphasized the importance of the fight against impunity in Syria. It was a political and moral obligation.
On 26 June 2014, the Security Council held a public meeting to hear Mrs Valerie Amos, head of OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), and Mr Bashar al-Jafari, Permanent Representative of Syria, on the fourth report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2139 regarding humanitarian access in Syria.
Violence was ongoing. Despite the truce in Yarmouk on 21 June, it was still difficult for humanitarian personnel to deliver aid: only 1% of besieged people –a few thousands- had access to aid. However, Mrs Amos estimated that 10.5 million people were in need of humanitarian aid in Syria. She reminded that obstructing access of humanitarian aid was a war crime. Arbitrary obstructions by the Syrian regime had increased over the past month. Mrs Amos asked the Council’s help so the parties in conflict held on to their international obligations.
The Permanent Representative of Syria accused Mrs Amos of presenting false numbers of displaced people and people in need. He accused the UN of increasing the terrorist threat in Syria with its humanitarian convoys on the ground.
During private consultations that followed, the Permanent Representative of France regretted that resolution 2139 was not implemented, four months after its unanimous adoption by the Security Council. He expressed deep concern at the use of barrel bombs in complete violation of resolution 2139. The ongoing war made complicated humanitarian access in Syria but the main responsibility for the obstructions went to the Syrian regime. He called for the Council to take measures accordingly.
On 4 June 2014, the members of the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear Mrs. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, on progress made by the Mission to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program pursuant to resolution 2118.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that the 30 June deadline for complete destruction of the Syrian arsenal and of its production facilities would not be respected and that several inconsistencies in the Syrian National statement needed to be clarified, which justified the continuation of the UN and OPCW Joint Mission. The Permanent Representative further recalled that there was growing evidence in allegations of use of chlorine gas, in breach of resolution 2118. Finally, the reelection of Bachar al-Assad was a direct violation of the Geneva Communiqué and the negation of the search for political transition in Syria.
On 22 May 2014, France submitted to the Security Council a draft Resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, in order to put an end to impunity for those responsible of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon. He called on the sense of responsibility of the Security Council to act in order to put an end to the massacre in Syria. He underlined that the Syrian people had a fundamental right to justice.
The Permanent Representative of France called on the members of the Security Council to vote in favor of the draft resolution. He stressed the moral imperative of allowing justice in Syria. 13 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the draft resolution. Russia and China vetoed and prevented the adoption of the text.
The Permanent Representative of France addressed the press after the vote.
On 20 May 2014, the Security Council met on the situation in the Middle East, including the state of the peace process in the Middle East, in presence of Mr. Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
During the closed consultations that followed, the Representative of France deplored the military strategy of the Syrian regime relying on violations of international humanitarian law (mass torture, use of barrel bombs, use of chemical weapons…) and the fake presidential elections scheduled for 3 June. The humanitarian blockade continued and terrorist groups were working with the regime against the moderate opposition. In this context and in the face of those atrocities, France would propose on 22 May to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Following the public announcement of his resignation on 13 May 2014 from the position of Joint Special Representative of the Arab League and of the UN on Syria, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi shared his analysis of his mediation during closed consultations with the Security Council.
The Permanent Representative of France thanked Mr Brahimi for his work. He regretted that the negotiations between the regime and the opposition were being compromised by the upcoming fake presidential elections in Syria. He called once more for a full implementation of resolution 2139 on humanitarian access. He recalled France’s support to a political resolution to the crisis, based on the Geneva Communiqué.
Finally, he reminded that France had presented a draft resolution to the Council for a referral to the International Criminal Court of the situation in Syria since the beginning of the conflict. The majority of the Council’s delegations supported this initiative.
On 8 May 2014, the members of the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear Mrs. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, on the progress made by the UN-OPCW (United Nations - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Joint Mission to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program pursuant to resolution 2118.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that 8% of chemical weapons precursors remained to be evacuated and destroyed. Moreover, twelve production facilities still had to be destroyed and several inconsistencies in the Syrian National statement needed to be clarified by the mission of the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW. The mandate of the joint mission did not terminate on 30 June; the mission had to prolong its mission as long as necessary, while adapting its format to the needs by reducing its workforce and by refocusing on the residual activities. Finally, the Permanent Representative welcomed the launching by the OPCW’s Director-General of the investigation into allegations around use of chlorine gas by the regime.
The Security Council met in private consultations on 30 April 2014 to hear the second report from the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2139 on humanitarian access in Syria. Ms Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, reported on an obstruction of humanitarian aid on the ground. She regretted the total disregard for humanitarian law from the parties in conflict.
The Permanent Representative of France strongly condemned the violations of human rights and humanitarian law by the Syrian regime. He recalled France’s commitment to allow a referral to the International Criminal Court by the Security Council.
On 29 April 2014, the Security Council met on the situation in the Middle East, including the state of the peace process in the Middle East, in presence of Mr. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and Mr. Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Palestine.
Mr. Serry regretted the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, violence and the attacks of the regime against civilians (use of torture on an industrial scale or use of explosive barrels) , as well as the non-implementation of resolution 2139 on humanitarian access, and urged the regime to stop these massacres. The majority of the members of the Security Council condemned the human rights violations, war crimes of the Syrian regime and non-compliance with its obligations. They also expressed concerns about the allegations of use of chlorine gas by the regime and welcomed the announcement by the OPCW to conduct an investigation in this regard.
The Permanent representative of France condemned the holding of the presidential election to take place on 3 June. It ran counter to the Geneva communique, had no value and no credibility in a country where there was a policy of terror. Finally, he called for referral to the ICC.
During private consultations on 23 April 2014, Ms Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the Joint UN-OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Mission informed the Council on the progress made by the Syrian regime in the evacuation of chemical weapons from Syria.
The Permanent Representative of France noted that 88% of the chemical weapons stocks had been evacuated to this day. However, he underlined that the full evacuation of the Syrian Chemical Weapons stockpiles did not mean the end of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, as the recent allegations of chlorine use by the regime have shown.
At the request of France, the Security Council gathered in private emergency consultations on 17 April 2014 to discuss the humanitarian situation in the city of Homs.
Ms Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Mr Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, reported their deepest concern to the Council regarding the intense fighting taking place in the old city of Homs, in violation of the cease-fire requested by resolution 2139.
The Permanent Representative of France expressed strong concern regarding the degradation of the situation for the civilians in Homs. He strongly encouraged the Council to collectively express their concern and to recall the importance of humanitarian law.
At the end of these consultations, Russia blocked the adoption of a press statement by the Security Council.
On 15 April 2014, following the release of the “Caesar” report to the Security Council on the mass torture of detainees by the Syrian regime, France organized an informal session of the Security Council (“Arria” format) to allow a presentation of the report and photographs on which it is based. Two of the experts, members of the investigative team which certified the witnessed of the photos and prepared the report, Professor David Crane, first chief Prosecutor to the Special Court of Sierra Leone, and Doctor Stuart J. Hamilton, forensic medical expert of the Britannic Home Office register, presented the document.
The report was subsequently presented to the press.
On 8 April 2014, the members of the Security Council met in closed consultations to hear the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Navi Pillay, on the human rights situation in Syria, in the Central African Republic, in South Sudan and in Libya.
The Permanent Representative of France expressed concerns about the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria. The reports of the Independent Inquiry Committee and of the High Commission for Human Rights relating cases of torture, of starvation as weapon of war and of sexual abuse were alarming. It was essential that the Security Council speaks with a single voice in order to envisage a referral to the ICC to hold accountable those responsible of the most serious crimes.
On 3 April 2014, one week after the release of the Secretary General’s report on the progress made in the implementation of resolution 2118, the members of the Security Council met in private consultations to hear Ms. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that it was crucial that the Syrian authorities resume their operations without delay in order to respect the 30 June deadline. The Permanent Representative also expressed concerns that twelve chemical weapons production facilities were not destroyed. There was a need to study closely the plan for destruction presented by Syria to the OPCW in order to ensure the complete dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal.
One month after the adoption of the resolution calling for access of humanitarian aid to Syria, the Security Council held private consultations on 28 March 2014 to assess its implementation. Mrs Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, expressed concern at the lack of implementation of the resolution as well as at the continuing violation of human rights, especially by the Syrian regime.
The Permanent Representative of France deplored that the 2139 resolution was not implemented. He reminded that the Security Council had warned of further actions. This option needed to be examined.
On 18 March 2014, the Security Council met on the situation in the Middle East in presence of Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
During the closed consultations that followed, the Permanent Representative of France urged both parties to agree without delay on the agenda and the working method as proposed by Joint Special Representative L. Brahimi, so that a third round of negotiations between the two delegations can be held. He furthermore underlined the need for the rapid and full implementation by the Syrian regime of resolution 2139 on humanitarian access in the country.
On 13 March 2014, the Security Council held private consultations on Syria in presence of the Special Representative of the UN on Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi. Mr. Brahimi updated the Council on the status of the crisis and on negotiations in Syria, including the Geneva II conference, launched in January.
The Permanent Representative of France reminded the support of the whole Council to Mr. Brahimi’s efforts in the resolution of the Syrian crisis. In a draft press statement proposed by France, the priorities for future negotiations were set: fighting against terrorism and the establishment of a transitional governing body. This statement was rejected by the Russian and Chinese delegations.
On 5 March 2014, the Security Council met in private consultations to hear Ms. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, on the implementation of resolution 2118.
The Permanent Representative of France recalled that Syria had so far failed to respect the deadlines set by the Executive Council of the OPCW to evacuate chemical weapons stockpiles. If pressure from the Council on Damascus’s authorities by adopting a press statement recently appeared to have paid off – the evacuation pace had accelerated - , it should not be forgotten that the whole stock had to be destroyed by 30 June. He also recalled that twelve chemical weapons production facilities had not been dismantled by Syria, despite its obligation to do so. Finally, the Syrian crisis was going beyond the chemical issue. Progress was needed on the political and humanitarian aspects and particularly on the implementation of resolution 2139 on humanitarian access.
On 22 February 2014, the members of the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2139 , requiring that the Syrian regime and the opposition allow humanitarian access to the civilian population in Syria.
On 13 February 2014, during private consultations, Mrs. Valerie Amos, UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs, briefed the Security Council on the implementation the UNSC statement adopted on 2 October 2013, which called on all parties to the conflict in Syria to facilitate humanitarian access to civilians in need.
The Permanent Representative of France deplored the lack of progress in the implementation of the statement. The situation had even deteriorated. Out of the 3 million people in besieged or difficult to access cities, very few had received humanitarian aid. The commitments from the regime having not been respected, the United Nations needed to engage fully in order to ensure rapid, systematic and extended humanitarian access to the whole Syrian territory. The Security Council had to go beyond the monitoring of the presidential statement and demand the respect of the most basic rules of international law and Human Rights by the regime, which had to end its tactics besieging as well as its “starve or surrender” politicy, which constituted a war crime. The Permanent Representative of France therefore supported the draft resolution on humanitarian access in Syria presented by Luxembourg, Australia and Jordan and welcomed the fact that all members of the Council decided to engage in negotiations.
On 6 February 2014, the Security Council met in private consultations to hear Ms. Sigrid Kaag, UN Coordinator for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, on the implementation of resolution 2118. Ms. Kaag confirmed that the Syrian regime was not respecting the deadlines set by the UN.
The Permanent Representative of France expressed concern that the deadlines of 31 December 2013 and 5 February 2014 were not met by Syrian authorities regarding the exit of chemical agents out of Syria. He noted the lack of good faith shown by Syria to meet the previously set deadlines. He reminded that it was up to Syrians to respect the June 2014 deadline for the total destruction of chemical weapons.
On 20 January 2014, during the Security Council open debate on the Middle East, Mr Ban Ki-moon Secretary-general to the United Nations, mentioned the preparations to the Geneva II conference. The permanent representative of France, Mr Gérard Araud underlined France’s commitment and effort to the success of the peace conference in Montreux on January 22. Mr Araud recalled that the Geneva II negotiation would take place on the basis of the Geneva I communiqué and that this condition had to be accepted by all participants to the conference. Every representative supported the peace conference in Montreux in order to reach a political solution in Syria through the designation of a transitional Government with all executive powers.
On 17 January 2014, the Security Council met in an informal meeting (“Arria” format), on the initiative of Luxemburg and the United Kingdom, for a session about the participation of women in resolving the Syrian conflict. Three Syrian women, Mrs. Sabah Al Hallak, member of the Syrian Women League, Mrs. Rola Rekbi, member of the Syrian Women Coalition, and Mrs. Sarah Abu Assali, representative of the Syrian Women League, participated in this debate.
The permanent representative of France deplored the sufferings of the Syrian people which suffered the worst atrocities and repeated violations of international law and human rights with the use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons, missiles and incendiary weapons against civilians, or attacks against humanitarian and medical targets. The choice of repression by the Syrian regime led to an appalling situation, including the radicalization of communities against each other and the destruction of the Syrian heritage. Women had to be at the heart of the reconciliation process. The Security Council fully noted this since resolution 1325, entitled “Women, Peace and Security”. France fully supported the goal of promoting the participation of women in resolving the Syrian crisis, which could not be done without fully acknowledging the specific consequences of the conflict on women. Two propositions of NGOs were subject to a strong engagement by France: the inclusion of a significant proportion of women in the Syrian delegations participating to Geneva II and the reinforcement, within the Joint Special Representative’s team, of expertise on gender issues.
On 8 January 2014, during closed consultations, Mrs. Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the UN-OPCW (United Nations - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Joint Mission, presented to the Security Council the progress report on the implementation of resolution 2118 to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program.
In his intervention, the permanent representative of France welcomed the impressive work achieved by the Joint Mission, as well as the excellent cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW. If contributions by the States were essential, the primary responsibility in the implementation of the resolution was placed on Syria. It was the responsibility of the Syrian regime to get the stocks of hazardous chemical agents out from their various storage places to the port of Latakia. It should ensure the full implementation of all provisions of resolution 2118 and any failure should be reported to the Council. In this regard, the representative of France questioned the consequences of the non-respect of the 31 December 2013 deadline for the exit from Syria of priority chemical materials, and underlined the importance to set interim deadlines by 30 June 2014, date scheduled for the completion of the dismantling process. Progress in the elimination of chemical weapons should not be a cause for rejoicing, the government continuing for several weeks an offensive in Aleppo. The representative of France regretted that the Council has not reached an agreement to condemn unambiguously and strongly the use of Scud missiles and barrel bombs on civilians and has watched this massacre helplessly and wordless. As well, too little progress had been made on the implementation of the 2 October presidential statement on humanitarian access, while it was a duty of the government under international humanitarian law. In the context of Geneva II conference preparation, it seemed to be a deliberate intention to keep away any prospect of political solution. For its part, France would make every effort to ensure that the Geneva II conference will be convened and successful.
On 18 December 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2131 (2013) which extends for six months, until the 30rd of June 2014, the mandate of UNDOF.
On 16 December 2013, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, presented in private consultations the report of Mr. Åke Sellström, head of the United Nations fact-finding Mission on the allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, along with Mrs. Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
On 4 December 2013, during closed consultations, Mrs Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the UN-OPCW (United Nations - Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Joint Mission, presented to the Security Council the progress report on the implementation of resolution 2118 to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program.
In his intervention, the permanent representative of France welcomed the work and progress achieved by the Joint Mission, as well as excellent cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW, and the courage of the international staff. However, multiple challenges remained concerning the phase of destruction, especially regarding the transfer of chemical weapons outside Syria towards the American vessel in charge of their destruction.
The complete timeline of events here.
In the context of the popular uprisings related to the Arab Spring, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has faced mass protests in several cities since March, 15. 2011. The appointment of a new government in April 2011 and the lifting of the state of emergency, effective since 1963, did not put an end to the protests.
Before the ferocity of the Syrian authorities’ crackdown against their own people, France and its allies asked for a strong reaction of the Security Council to demand a political, democratic and peaceful transition in Syria. The claims of demonstrators were legitimate and had to be heard. The Security Council could however not overcome the deadlock due to its members political divisions. The Russian Federation and China vetoed three draft resolutions condemning the repression of the civilian population by the government and opening the possibility of sanctions.
The United Nations General Assembly was hence chosen as an alternative venue to convey the voice of the international community. To condemn the Syrian regime abuses, it worked closely with the Human Rights Council in Geneva. These two UN bodies succeeded in adopting with large majorities several resolutions strongly condemning the crimes committed by the al-Assad regime against the Syrian people.
In February 2013, Mrs Navi Pillay, UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights, estimated that more than 70,000 people had been killed in Syria since the beginning of the uprising two years earlier. According to Mrs Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 6.8 million people were in need and 4.25 million internally displaced. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres stressed out the threat posed by the growing flow of refugees on neighbouring countries stability. According to his projections, the number of refugees might affect 3.5 million Syrians by the end of the year. (Update: April 2013)
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was acting in Syria before the beginning of the crackdown. This Force had been established in 1974 by Security Council Resolution 350, following the agreed ceasefire and disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces from the Golan Heights. Since then, UNDOF mandate was renewed every six months to monitor the implementation of the disengagement and maintain the ceasefire.
Facing the bloody crackdown of the regime, the United Nations strengthened their activities in Syria by appointing, jointly with the Arab League, a Special Representative in Syria. After Mr Kofi Annan’s resignation, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi was designated in August 2012. In April 2012, the Security Council established the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to support the full implementation of the Joint Special Envoy’s six points plan to end the conflict in Syria, including the ceasefire agreement. However, as the level of violence had not sufficiently abated at the set deadline, UNSMIS mandate came to an end on 19 August 2012.
The regime in Damascus had ignored calls of the international community, especially the Presidential Statement adopted by the Security Council in August 2011. France and its allies in the Security Council presented several draft resolutions to condemn the use of force against peaceful protesters and civilian people, as well as the widespread violations of Human Rights by the Syrian regime. However, these draft resolutions were vetoed three times by two Security Council permanent members: China and the Russian Federation.
On 4 October 2011, the Security Council was called to vote on a draft resolution presented by France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Portugal. The draft resolution condemned the repression by the Syrian authorities and indicated the Council’s readiness to consider its options, including sanctions, if its call was not heard. A majority of nine delegations voted in favour of the draft and four abstained (South Africa, Brazil, India and Lebanon). Russia and China vetoed the text, which was subsequently rejected.
On 4 February 2012, as no objections had been expressed by the other States, a draft resolution presented by Morocco on the behalf of the Arab group and co-sponsored by 14 countries, including France, the United Kingdom and the United States, was put to a vote. This text was endorsing the plan established by the Observers of the League of Arab States aimed at ending the crisis and starting a peaceful transition (accordingly to Security Council Resolution 2028). The draft resolution gathered the approval of thirteen member States. Being against the adoption of the text, Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution.
On 19 July 2012, Russia and China vetoed one more time a draft resolution tabled by France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal and the United States which aimed at putting the Annan plan under chapter VII of the UN Charter and accompanying it by a threat of sanctions for non compliance. Eleven member states voted in favour. Pakistan and South Africa abstained.
Given the Security Council standstill, the United Nations General Assembly was chosen as an alternative venue to convey the voice of the international community and denounce serious crimes committed by the Syrian authorities. It succeeded to adopt several resolutions with large majorities, by working closely with the Human Rights Council, which had, since the beginning of the crisis, strongly condemned the authorities in Damascus for the massive crackdown against their people and for the crimes against humanity being committed.
On 29 April 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted a previous resolution on Syria which strongly denounced the massive violations of human rights by the Syrian regime.
On 30 June 2011, the Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1994, co-sponsored by France, renewing for six months the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. The text of the resolution had remained unchanged for many years. However, the violent incidents at the Israeli-Syrian border on 15 May and 5 June 2011, favoured by the authorities of Damascus, led the Council to adapt the text of the resolution. Resolution 1994 thus recalled the obligations of the parties to preserve the cease-fire and to fully cooperate with UNDOF operations.
On 23 August 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning the serious and systematic crimes committed by the Syrian authorities, "including arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and deadly violence against protesters". In this text, the Human Rights Council also decided to dispatch urgently an independent international inquiry commission (CoI) to investigate violations of international human rights law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Following the adoption of this resolution, Mr Alain Juppé, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, said: "This resolution, which sends a message of firmness and unequivocally condemns the crackdown in Syria, was adopted by a large majority of the Human Rights Council’s member States. It reflects the international community’s growing concern in the face of the crimes committed by the Syrian regime against its own population. France had campaigned in support of convening this new special session of the Human Rights Council on Syria, which follows on from the one held on 29 April 2011, and in support of the adoption of a substantial resolution."
On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, by 122 votes in favor, 11 against and 43 abstentions, a resolution co-sponsored by France and 60 other states, which strongly condemned, in particular, "the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children".
After the vote, Mr. Alain Juppé, ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs expressed France’s determination, "given the extreme gravity of the situation", to pursue it efforts "in all relevant forums, to put and end to the violations of human rights and the brutality against civilians in Syria".
On 21 December 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 2028 renewing for six months the mandate of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights and authorizing the deployment of 165 observers of the League of Arab States.
On 16 February 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution presented by the Arab group and co-sponsored by 72 states, expressing the full support of the international community to the Arab League’s peace plan. The resolution stresses in particular the responsibility of the Syrian authorities in the violence against civilians and the systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country. It supports the Arab League’s roadmap for a political transition in Syria, urges the Syrian authorities to allow humanitarian access to the civilian populations and mandates the United Nations Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy. 137 States voted in favour of the resolution, 17 abstained and 12 states voted against it (Syria, Russia, China, Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Zimbabwe; check out the voting records).
On 23 February 2012, implementing the resolution adopted a week earlier by the General Assembly, the United Nations Secretary General and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States announced the appointment of Nobel Peace Prize and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as their joint special envoy for the crisis in Syria. They requested Mr. Annan to "provide good offices aimed at bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations, and promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis (...) and to facilitate a peaceful Syrian-led and inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people through a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian Government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.”
On 1 March 2012, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution co-sponsored by 60 countries, including France, calling on the Syrian government to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians, to cease all violence and to allow free and unimpeded access by the UN and humanitarian agencies. The resolution strongly condemned the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental rights by the Syrian authorities and deplored "the Syrian regime’s brutal actions over the past 11 months. The resolution was passed with 37 States voting in support, three voting against (Russia, China and Cuba) and three abstentions (India, Ecuador and the Philippines).
On 23 March 2012, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva condemned, for the second time in its 19th session, the authorities in Damascus for the massive crackdown against their people and for the crimes against humanity being committed, demanding the cessation of violence and the establishment of humanitarian access, as well as the start of a national political dialogue. The Council also decided to extend the mandate of the commission of inquiry on Syria, in light of the dramatic situation on the ground. With 41 countries voting in favour a wider majority of states supported the resolution while three (Russia, China and Cuba) opposed it and two, Ecuador and Uganda, abstained.
On 14 April 2012, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2042. This resolution, the first to be adopted since the crisis began mote than a year ago, calls once again upon the Syrian authorities to fully implement their obligations and authorizes the deployment a first observation mission, with a number of safeguards to guarantee its success. In his explanation of vote, the permanent representative of France stressed that the decrease in violence since April 12 occurred more than a year after the beginning of the crisis and more than 10,000 dead. He reiterated that the onus remained on the Syrian regime to prove its good will, in demonstrating its compliance with all the obligations to which it had subscribed, and that the international community, who now found its ability to speak again with one voice, would judge Damascus by its deeds.
On 21 April 2012, the Security Council unanimously approved resolution 2043, co-sponsored by China, Colombia, France, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal and Russia, authorizing the deployment of 300 observers of UNSMIS (United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria), with a civilian component, and a mandate to monitor the cessation of violence and the full implementation of Kofi Annan’s six points plan.
On 20 July 2012, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2059 extending for the final 30 days the UN observer mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
On 3 August 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by 133 votes against 12 and 31 abstentions a resolution presented by the Arab Group and cosponsored by nearly 60 countries, including France, condemning the shelling of cities by the Syrian army and criticizing the inability of the Security Council to pressure Damascus. The resolution condemned the increasing use of heavy weapons by the Syrian authorities and highlighted the concern over the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles. It called for a democratic political transition in Syria. The twelve countries that rejected the resolution are Syria, China, Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Bolivia, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
On 17 August 2012, the United Nations Secretary-General announced along with the Secretary-General of the Arab League the appointment of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi as Joint Special Representative for Syria and successor of Mr. Kofi Annan. The French presidency of the Security Council sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express the Council’s support to his good offices and to the mission of the Joint Special Representative for Syria.
On 19 December 2012, the Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 2084 extending the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan until the 30 June 2013.
On 15th May 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/67/262, presented by Qatar and co-sponsored by 61 States, with 107 votes in favor, 12 votes against and 59 abstentions.
This resolution welcomes the establishment of the National Coalition as an effective representative interlocutor needed for a political transition. It also expresses the outrage of the international community at the death of at least 70 000 people in the Syrian army Republic, as reported on 12 February 2013.
On 27 June 2013, the Security Council adopted resolution 2108, extending the mandate of UNDOF in the Golan Heights for a period of 6 months.
On 27 September 2013, the Security Council adopted unanimously resolution 2118 on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. After 17 months of paralysis on the Syrian issue, the Security Council most strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syrian Arab Republic and particularly the August 21st attack. This resolution makes the use chemical weapons a threat to international peace and security.
On 18 December 2013, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2131 (2013) which extends for six months, until the 30rd of June 2014, the mandate of UNDOF.
On 22 February 2014, the members of the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2139 , requiring that the Syrian regime and the opposition allow humanitarian access to the civilian population in Syria.
Facing the pursuance of the massive crackdown and the widespread violations of Human Rights by the Syrian regime, the European Union has gradually set up restrictive measures against Syria since May 2011.
As of May 2013, more than 179 people and 54 entities including the leading members of the Syrian regime are being targeted by around 20 rounds of European Union sanctions.
Since 9 May 2011, the Council of the European Union has adopted targeted sanctions (visa bans and assets freezes) against senior regime officials identified as being responsible for the violent crackdown against the civilian population. These sanctions concern several dozen individuals, including President Bashar al-Assad, his wife Asma al-Assad, his mother, his sister and his sister-in-law, as well as the ministers of Defense, Justice and Information, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Economy and commerce, and several dozen individuals linked to the regime and high-ranking army officers. On 15 October 2012, the EU Council added 28 persons responsible for the violent repression against the civilian population to the list of those subject to a travel ban and an asset freeze.
Financial sanctions are also being imposed. They cover several economic, media and industrial entities, particularly in the banking, telecommunications and oil sectors, as well as the Iranian elite Quds Force and Syria’s main civilian and military intelligence services. European loans to the country were frozen on 14 November 2011. The assets of five Syrian banks were frozen on 24 January 2012 and those of the Central Bank of Syria on 27 February 2012. The 20th round of sanctions decided by EU Foreign Affairs ministers froze the assets of two additional entities in the EU.
Trade sanctions include an arms embargo decided upon in May 2011 and a ban on imports of and trading by European companies in Syrian crude oil (2 September 2011). On 23 September 2011, all new investments in the country’s oil sector were banned, as was the delivery of banknotes and coins to the Central Bank of Syria by European operators. The sale to Syria of equipment for the oil and gas industry and of Internet and telephone communications monitoring software was banned in December 2011. Trading in precious metals was banned and an embargo on cargo flights operated by Syrian airlines was imposed on 27 February 2012. On 23 April, EU Foreign Ministers also agreed to ban the export of luxury goods and goods and technology which might be used for internal repression. On 15 October 2012, the EU has strengthened its arms embargo by prohibiting the importation in the EU of arms from Syria and the EU participation to Syrian arms transfers. Mrs Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, declared: “The EU warns against further militarization of the conflict. We call on all states to refrain from delivering arms to Syria and to follow the EU in stopping the supplies that fuel the fighting."
On 18 February 2013, EU Foreign Ministers decided to extend for three months the EU embargo on the supply of arms to Syria. They added however an amendment enabling countries “to provide greater non-lethal support and technical assistance for the protection of civilians”. Two months later, EU agreed to ease sanctions on Syria to allow for purchases of crude oil from the opposition, in hopes of throwing a financial lifeline to rebels fighting President al-Assad (22 April 2013).
On 31 May 2013, the EU renewed the restrictive measures adopted against the Syrian regime. At the request of France and the United Kingdom, the embargo on arms to the Syrian National Coalition has been lifted.
On 2 June 2008, the IAEA Director General informed the Board of Governors that the Agency had been provided with information alleging that an installation at the Dair Alzour site in Syria, destroyed in September 2007, had been a nuclear reactor that was not yet operational and into which no nuclear material had been introduced.
Information subsequently provided to the Agency further alleged that the reactor was a gas cooled graphite moderated reactor, that it was not configured to produce electricity, that it had been built with the assistance of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and that there were three other locations in Syria that were functionally related to the Dair Alzour site.
Just after the destruction of the installation, large scale clearing and levelling operations took place at the site which had removed or obscured the remains of the destroyed building.
The Agency’s estimation is that the construction of the installation began in spring 2001.
The Agency conducted one inspection on the Dair Alzour site, in June 2008.
Since June 2008, Syria has consistently refused to answer questions from the Agency concerning the Dair Alzour site, the infrastructure observed and the acquisitions made by Syria; to provide information about the construction of the installation; and to grant access to the debris, the site itself and the three locations related to Dair Alzour.
Syria has maintained that the destroyed building was a non-nuclear military installation and that Syria had had no nuclear related cooperation with the DPRK.
In its latest report (GOV/2011/30), dated 24 May 2011, the Director General of the IAEA concluded that the Dair Alzour installation destroyed in 2007 was "very likely" a nuclear reactor, which should have been declared by Syria to the Agency in accordance with its safeguards agreement.
This assessment, which concludes an investigation of several years, is based on a technical analysis taking into account all information available to the Agency.
The Agency determined its assessment of the nature of the Dair Alzour installation on the basis of four criteria:
— The features of the destroyed building: in spite of Syrian efforts to conceal the facility during its construction, and of the disposal, demolition and burial of the remaining elements after the destruction of the building, the Agency concludes that its features correspond to those of a gas cooled graphite moderated reactor of 25 MWth, similar to the one at Yongbyon in the DPRK (which is used to produce plutonium for military purposes);
— The configuration of the infrastructure at the site: the Agency concludes that the configuration, including pumping system and water transfer, is particularly suitable for a nuclear reactor;
— Samples taken by the IAEA during its visit on-site in June 2008: Samples showed the presence of a significant number of particles of anthropogenic natural uranium at the Dair Alzour site, which were not included in the inventory of declared nuclear material in Syria. The Agency has not been able to determine the origin of the particles, but concludes that they indicate a connection to nuclear related activities at the site. The Agency again rejects that these particles could have originated from the munitions used to destroy the building, as claimed by Syria.
— The lack of plausibility of the explanation put forward by Syria on the purpose of the site: the Agency concludes that the features of the building could not have served the purpose claimed by Syria, i.e. that the building was intended to assemble storage and deploy ballistic missiles.
—With regard to the three locations related to the Dair Alzour site: the IAEA indicates that it does not have enough information to provide an assessment on their purpose or current status.
On 9 June 2011, following its report determining that Syria had built a clandestine nuclear reactor at the Dair Alzour site, the Director General of the IAEA sent a letter to the UN Secretary General transmitting a resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors (GOV/2011/41), referring to the Security Council Syria’s non-compliance with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
In its resolution, the IAEA Board of Governors finds Syria in non-compliance with its Safeguards agreement concluded with the IAEA in accordance with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), and decides to report the issue to the Security Council, in accordance with Article XII.C of the Agency’s Statute.
30 July 2014 - Security Council - UNSC wrap up for the month of July - Statement by Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations
22 May - Security Council - Syria/ICC - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
22 May 2014 - Syria / ICC - [Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nationshttp://www.franceonu.org/france-at-...]
14 May 2014 - Event "Barrel Bombs: Syria’s Indiscriminate Killers " - Statement by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representitve of France to the United Nations
29 April 2014 - Security Council - The situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
15 April 2014 - Security Council Meeting on the “Caesar” report concerning mass torture perpetrated by the Syrian regime - Press conference with Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Professor David M. Crane, chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Dr. Stuart J. Hamilton, forensic pathologist from United Kingdom Home Office Register - Introductive remarks by Mr Gerard Araud
22 February 2014 - Syria /Humanitarian access - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
11 February 2014 - Syria /Humanitarian access - Remarks to the press by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
20 January 2014 - Security Council - Situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
22 October 2013 - Security Council - Situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
27 September 2013 - Security Council - Syria - Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
26 September 2013 - Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People - Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
16 September 2013 - Syria / Report of the United Nations chemical weapons investigators - Remarks to the press by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
29 July 2013 - General Assembly - Human Rights situation in Syria - Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations
23 July 2013 - Situation in the Middle East - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
24 April 2013 – Security Council - Situation in the Middle-East – Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
All French Statements here
14 July 2014 - Security Council - Resolution 2165, requiring that the Syrian regime and the opposition allow humanitarian access to the civilian population in Syria.
22 February 2014 - Security Council - Resolution 2139 , requiring that the Syrian regime and the opposition allow humanitarian access to the civilian population in Syria.
18 December 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2131 (2013) - Extending UNDOF mandate for six months
28 November 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - Shelling against Russian Federation Embassy in Damascus
22 October 2013 - London 11 Conference - Final Communiqué
3 October 2013 - Security Council- Presidential Statement PRST/2013/15
27 September 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2118 on the destruction of the chemical weapons of the Syrian regime
21 August 2013 - Syria - Remarks to the press by the President of the Security Council
27 June 2013 - UNDOF - Security Council - Resolution 2108
7 June 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - humanitarian assistance in Al-Qusayr
6 June 2013 - Security Council - Press statement - United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
16 May 2013 - Security Council - Press statement on United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)
15 May 2013 - General Assembly - Resolution A/RES/67/262
7 May 2013 - UNDOF - Security Council Press Statement
26 March 2013 - UNDOF - Security Council Press Statement
22 March 2013 - Damascus bombing - Security Council Press Statement
6 March 2013 - Security Council - Press statement on detention of UNDOF Peacekeepers
19 December 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2084 - extending the mandate of the UNDOF in the Golan until the 30 June 2013.
24 October 2012 - Security Council Press Statement on Ceasefire in Syria
5 October 2012 - Security Council statement issued by the Security Council President
4 October 2012 - Security Council statement issued by the Security Council President
26 September 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
3 August 2012 - General Assembly - Resolution
20 July 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2059
13 June 2012 - Syria - Press conference given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
14 April 2012 - Security Council resolution 2042
10 April 2012 - Letter from mr Kofi Annan to the Security Council
21 March 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
1 March 2012 - Security Council Press statement on Syria
16 February 2012 - Resolution A/RES/66/253 on the situation in Syria adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
4 February 2012 - Draft resolution put to vote at the Security Council.
21 December 2011 - Resolution 2028 - Renewing the mandate of UNDOF
3 August 2011 - Security Council Presidential Statement on Syria
12 July 2011 - Security Council - Press Statement on embassy attacks in Damascus
30 June 2011 - Resolution 1994 - Renewing the mandate of UNDOF
23 May 2011 - Council of the European Union conclusions on Syria
29 April 2011 - Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council - "The current human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic in the context of recent events"