Statement on the situation in Syria

Statement by Political Coordinator of Slovenia to the United Nations Klemen Ponikvar at the briefing on the situation in the Middle East, Syria

Thank you, Mr. President.

I would like to begin by thanking Deputy Special Envoy Rochdi and OCHA Director Rajasingham for their briefings.

First of all, Slovenia remains deeply concerned about the ongoing spiral of violence. The situation is destabilizing the region and Syria is also not immune to the spill-over effects of regional escalations, in particular from Gaza. Such situation is not sustainable. With each passing day, it is becoming more dangerous and unpredictable. We regret another month has passed with no progress towards a political solution. We reiterate our call on the Government of Syria to act in good faith and to substantively engage, without delay or excuse, with Special Envoy towards relaunching a much needed Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process.

Second, Slovenia is greatly concerned about the plight of Syrian refugees in the region. We commend Syria’s neighboring countries for hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees for over a decade and call on them to uphold the principle of non-refoulement.

We reiterate that the conditions for safe, dignified and voluntary return of Syrian refugees are not there yet. Syrian authorities must ensure the protection of all returnees. It is important to continue to support the UNHCR efforts to prompt the Government of Syria to create the conditions for such a return, and also to alleviate the burden on host countries.

Thirdly, the humanitarian situation is at its worst and it continues to deteriorate. Particularly alarming are reports of severe human rights violations and abuses against refugees and internally displaced persons. Protection of most vulnerable and those finding themselves in vulnerable situations should be of utmost importance. High number of grave violations against children in Syria mentioned also in the recent Report on Children and Armed Conflict is simply unacceptable. All parties should immediately end such practices and do everything to prevent them from happening ever again. We would like to remind all concerned parties about their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Mr. President,

Humanitarian needs in Syria remain dire. Syria needs sustainable, predictable and efficient aid flows – including cross-border aid and cross-line aid – across whole country for as long as needed. Humanitarian actors need greater predictability to plan their activities, they also must be able to work in safety and security. These can be done only if all parties comply with the international humanitarian law.

Finally, the only long-term solution to ending this conflict is through the UN-led political process based on UN Security Council resolution 2254. We reiterate our support to Special Envoy’s efforts, and we call on the parties to cooperate fully towards delivering a lasting political settlement in Syria. In this regard let us also recall the importance of full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of Syrian women.

I thank you.

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