Urgent Debate on Syria
Human Rights Council 37th Session
Geneva, March 2, 2018
Delivered by Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Theodore Allegra
Note: The Human Rights Council will continue its consideration of the resolution on Eastern Ghouta on Monday, March 5.
The United States strongly supports the resolution before us today.
We appeal to the commitment to human rights, and indeed the commitment to humanity itself, in urging that all members of this Council support this resolution as well.
UN Security Council Resolution 2401 demanded the immediate and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance, including to the hundreds of thousands of besieged Syrians in Eastern Ghouta, and also for the unconditional, safe evacuation of those in medical need. As it has been for more months and years than we should have to count, the UN remains ready and able to assist.
But, again, the Assad regime has refused to cooperate. Even when a glimmer of hope is sparked when aid convoys are approved in principle, the regime removes the medical and humanitarian supplies from them. Could anyone in this room dedicated to human rights imagine that even baby formula is taken away from the most vulnerable of besieged Syrians?
Yet, that is indeed the reality on the ground today. Again, there are no words to describe the horror we must all feel about those mothers, fathers, and children who have no names for us in Geneva.
The resolution before us condemns denial of humanitarian access, it condemns attacks against medical facilities, it condemns the indiscriminate use of weapons and bombardments, and it condemns the use of chemical weapons. Who could be against that? It also calls upon the Commission of Inquiry to update this Council at its next session. Who could be against that? Only those who blind themselves to reality and find political convenience when moral certainty should prevail.
We act today on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims who have no voice, and for whom there is no respect for human rights. If any delegation chooses to call a vote on this resolution, the United States will vote in favor. The United States will also oppose all amendments proposed to this resolution. We strongly urge all members in this chamber today to examine their conscience and do the same.