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18 août 2011 - Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. Martin Briens, Chargé d’Affaires a.i

The members of the Security Council have just heard the reports of Mrs. Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Valérie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

The situation in Syria described by these three respected, credible and impartial observers is simply appalling. The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate despite repeated requests from the international community, including the Security Council and countries of the region. Since the human rights violations have been systematic and peaceful demonstrators have been deliberately targeted: as mentioned by Mrs. Pillay, the regime’s forces shoot to kill, away from the gaze of the humanitarian workers, the media and the UN, whose presence has been prohibited in the country. As Ms. Pillay recommended, those responsible for these crimes should be brought to justice.

The violence unleashed by the Syrian authorities against their own people doesn’t just constitute a violation of their international obligations and a humanitarian tragedy. It is also an element of destabilization in the region and, consequently, for peace and international security.

The promises to cease military operations are contradicted by renewed violence. The reforms that were promised but never implemented are a smokescreen behind which Bashar al-Assad and his followers have hidden in order to fool the international community and stifle the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom and democracy.

As pointed out by President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel and High Representative Catherine Ashton, President Assad bears the responsibility for this situation and has lost all legitimacy: he can no longer claim to lead the country. We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people. Violence must stop immediately, the prisoners of conscience must be released and a peaceful and democratic transition must be implemented. The United Nations must also be able to conduct an unimpeded mission to assess the situation.

The Syrian authorities have deliberately turned a deaf ear to the appeals of the international community. Their attitude and the situation in Syria leave the Security Council with no option but to take note of this obstinacy and to assume its full responsibilities by immediately adopting a sanctions resolution. This will now be the thrust of our efforts.

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