UNSC on humanitarian situation in Syria

Media release

22 April 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed remarks delivered by Rwanda on behalf of all United Nations Security Council members, including Australia, on Syria.

Senator Carr said this is the first time Security Council members have collectively addressed the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria this year.

"Australia played a lead role in securing this outcome," Senator Carr said.

"The situation in Syria is dire and having a negative impact on regional stability.

"On April 18 all members of the Security Council condemned the widespread violations of human rights and underlined the need for a political process leading to a political transition."

Security Council members called for all parties to the conflict to enhance access for aid organisations, facilitate more effective delivery of humanitarian assistance, to ensure the safety of humanitarian personnel, and refrain from attacking medical facilities and personnel.

Senator Carr said Australia called on the Syrian authorities to fulfil their responsibility to protect civilians and respect international human rights and humanitarian law.

"I am pleased that Australia's initiative to protect medical workers and maintain access to hospitals for families caught up in the violence in Syria has been positively reflected by Council members," Senator Carr said.

Security Council members also called for further support to neighbouring countries and affected communities for hosting and supporting refugees. They condemned incidents of sexual violence as well as grave violations and abuses against children.

The remarks were delivered by Rwanda as Security Council President for April on April 18 after four senior United Nations officials publicly briefed the Security Council, following a request by Australia.

These officials were Valerie Amos (head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), Antonio Guterres (UN High Commissioner for Refugees), Leila Zerrougui (Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict) and Zainab Hawa Banguru (Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict).

The conflict in Syria has seen over 70,000 people killed, created 6.8 million people in need, internally displaced over four million people and created more than 1.3 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

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