Urgent Debate on Syria
Human Rights Council 37th Session
Geneva, March 2, 2018
Delivered by Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Theodore Allegra
Thank you Mr. President,
Once again, the United States joins with the majority of our colleagues to demand an end to the Assad regime’s brutal assault against its own people.
We strongly condemn the repeated attacks on medical facilities and civilian infrastructure in Eastern Ghouta. Less than a week ago, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401, which demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities.
But that did not happen. The Assad regime and its Russian backers continue to carry out airstrikes. Airstrikes which have caused more deaths of innocent men, women, and children, and which have caused more destruction of civilian infrastructure – including a maternity ward.
There are no longer words adequate to describe the brutality of the regime’s attacks on its own population; the horror of the situation has surpassed even the ability of the English language to describe it.
Many of these attacks violate the laws of armed conflict, and those that commit them must be held accountable. Last week, thirteen medical facilities were destroyed in a four-day period. One human rights organization reported eighteen separate incidents violating the ceasefire demanded in Resolution 2401 – all on a single day this week – including airstrikes, artillery fire, and barrel bombing.
The United States deplores all chemical weapon attacks, and is deeply concerned about yet another report of a chlorine attack in Eastern Ghouta – less than a day after the ceasefire should have taken effect.
Let us demonstrate that we have not forgotten what the Syrian people know all too well – seven years ago this month the Assad regime initiated this barbaric assault because the Syrian people demanded respect for their human rights. Rights that this Council was established to promote, and to protect.
So today – in this chamber dedicated to human rights, and on this day of remorse for the mockery the Assad regime and its benefactors have made of the Security Council resolution less than a week ago – we must all represent the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims who have no voice, and who have no human rights.
We must demonstrate that the world stands united with the innocent civilians of Syria.