NEW YORK, NY – During its 207th meeting on 6-7 September, the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) issued a statement on the recent developments in the Syrian conflict:
We continue to be gravely concerned over the escalating violence in Syria, particularly the heinous use of chemical weapons against civilians. As a group elected by non-partisan civil society organizations in over 100 countries, we express deep solidarity with the people in Syria who are confronting these serious atrocities.
To date, more than four million Syrians have been internally displaced and over 100,000 killed. The mass killings in Syria represent a collective global failure of our Responsibility to Protect—a norm adopted by all member states of the United Nations. Unless the international community steps up with meaningful measures to protect civilians in Syria, this conflict will continue to pose a severe threat not only to the people of Syria but also to the stability in the region and the international community as a whole.
We are deeply pained by the failure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to assume its responsibility as outlined in the Charter of the United Nations. Mindful of the complexity of the situation, we call upon all parties to the United Nations, in particular the members of the UNSC, to intensify their efforts and take action towards an integrated, multilateral framework and solution to put an end to the Syrian conflict. In support of an International Conference on Syria (Geneva II), we urge all parties to fully engage in peaceful negotiations to achieve a resolution for sustainable peace and security. It is vital that the United Nations play an active role in the conference deliberations, especially since it will most likely be mandated to carry the main responsibility in the immediate post-war peacekeeping and rebuilding process.
Inaction is simply not an option. Any decision must duly respect the UN Charter and the norms of international law, especially regarding the use of force, which requires a Security Council resolution. We reaffirm the importance of waiting for the results of the UN inspections of the chemical attack strikes, while simultaneously pursuing suitable multilateral actions. In this regard, we call upon the Security Council to refer the chemical weapons matter to the International Criminal Court. We also call for an immediate arms embargo.
We call for the United Nations to provide greater humanitarian aid to reduce and prevent the further loss of life in Syria. We request the Syrian government to guarantee access and the United Nations to secure humanitarian assistance to the victims and for those displaced by the Syrian civil war. Member states must fulfill their pledges for humanitarian assistance urgently.
We support Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations for Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, in their continued diplomatic efforts towards a negotiated political solution to end “this prolonged and ever-deepening crisis” in Syria.
We, the people’s movement of the United Nations, reiterate the importance of civil society’s contributions to achieving peace and security and urge all parties to ensure enhanced civil engagement in the conflict resolution process.