HRC Urgent Debate on Syria: U.S. Remarks in response to Russian amendment L.4
Human Rights Council 37th Session
As delivered by Jason Mack
Geneva, March 5, 2018
This amendment, like the others, is intended to distract the Council from the horrific reality of what is occurring in Eastern Ghouta.
UN Security Council Resolution 2401 calls for a nationwide cessation of hostilities, humanitarian aid deliveries, and medical evacuations. The temporary humanitarian corridors proposed by Russia are outside the scope of the Security Council’s previous agreements and have been resoundingly criticized by humanitarian actors, including Jan Egeland — Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria — who have unequivocally stated that these so-called humanitarian corridors are woefully insufficient to take in aid or evacuate civilians from war-torn Eastern Ghouta.
We remind the Council of the repeated violations and abuses against civilians by the Syrian authorities and their supporters in previous post-ceasefire agreements, documented by numerous UN reports, including those of the Commission of Inquiry.
We also recall last week’s briefing to the Security Council by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, when he reminded UNSC members that there have not been any evacuations from Eastern Ghouta. Why not? Because the Assad regime refuses to comply with UNSCR 2401. It controls the checkpoints; it controls the area surrounding Eastern Ghouta. The onus is on the regime and its Russian supporters to allow unfettered humanitarian access for the civilians who remain besieged in Eastern Ghouta.
For these reasons, the United States will vote against this amendment, and we urge all delegations to do the same.