Syria: the politicization and instrumentalization of humanitarian aid in Syria is unacceptable [fr]
SYRIA (HUMANITARIAN SITUATION)
STATEMENT BY MR. NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
= Translation from French =
New York, 16 September 2020
I thank Mark Lowcock for his presentation.
His conclusions are indisputable: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, particularly in the regime-held areas, but also in the North-West and North-East. We cannot rely on the Syrian regime’s official figures, which are well below reality. The rate of contamination of medical and humanitarian personnel is alarming. And while testing capacities are gradually being strengthened, they remain largely insufficient.
The indirect impacts of this pandemic are also very worrying: food insecurity is worsening day by day, further increasing the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable populations.
In this context, every effort must be made to put in place an immediate, lasting and verifiable cessation of hostilities at the national level and a humanitarian pause, in accordance with resolutions 2532 and 2254 and the appeal of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy. The continued air strikes in the Idlib region are a worrisome signal, as is the significant instability in the South-West and North-East.
We cannot repeat it often enough: the protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, as well as civilian infrastructure, must be a top priority.
Rising humanitarian and medical needs make it more essential than ever to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need. We call on all parties, in particular the Syrian regime, to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. The shortcomings in the delivery of medical aid in the North-East in particular are alarming. We regret the lack of consensus in this Council to reopen the al-Yaroubiyah crossing point, as well as the closure of the Bab al-Salam crossing point, which has resulted in a dramatic lengthening of the routes of humanitarian convoys.
The politicization and instrumentalization of humanitarian aid in Syria is unacceptable. The European Union and its Member States, which represent 70% of the commitments made at the Brussels IV conference, will continue to ensure full respect for the guarantees of impartiality and transparency in the delivery of aid, and the implementation of the document "principles and parameters" in Syria.
Finally, until a credible political process consistent with resolution 2254 is firmly under way, France and the European Union will not finance reconstruction. Our positions on the lifting of sanctions and normalization also remain unchanged. The instrumentalization of the sanctions issue to mask the responsibility of the Syrian regime in this humanitarian tragedy is not fooling anyone. I would like to recall that European sanctions are targeted: they are aimed at individuals and entities that participate in the repression and profit from the fallout of the conflict. They include strong measures to safeguard the delivery of humanitarian and medical aid. We must stop instrumentalizing the issue of sanctions. Thank you.