The spread of COVID-19 in Syria is extremely worrying [fr]
Syria (humanitarian situation)
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 19 May 2020
Many thanks first to Mark Lowcock for his presentation.
The spread of COVID-19 in Syria is extremely worrying. The pandemic is becoming a multiplier of humanitarian needs in a country where more than 11 million people rely on humanitarian assistance.
An immediate and sustainable nationwide ceasefire is more than necessary.
There is no alternative to fight effectively the pandemic.
This is all the more crucial as the ceasefire in the North-West remains fragile.
The regime unfortunately has not responded to the appeal by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for a nationwide ceasefire. We call on all parties, and especially the regime, to work actively in that direction.
The United Nations have to remain at the forefront of these efforts, in accordance with resolution 2254.
I would like to reiterate the obligation of all parties to respect international humanitarian law.
Protection of civilians should be at the core of every party’s concerns.
All parties, in particular the Syrian regime, must ensure humanitarian access.
To prevent and respond to the spread of the pandemic, it is crucial to overcome the shortage of essential supplies and equipments. Those need to be shipped by the most direct routes to reach their intended beneficiaries, the most vulnerable.
We will never repeat it enough: the crossborder mechanism has never been so relevant, both in the North West and the North East. France remains determined to preserve that life-saving mechanism: a renewal for twelve months, as required by the Secretary-General, is essential.
In the North-West, the scale-up of the humanitarian delivery through the two crossing points must absolutely continue, the risks are immense both locally and for the region.
In the North East, gaps in medical supplies have widened as a result of the loss of al Yarubiyah crossing point. The delivery of a WHO convoy last week is a positive step but should not fool us: Damascus is not providing the UN with the sufficient and timely authorizations needed to compensate the loss of al Yarubiyah. The figures speak for themselves: only 31% of health facilities previously supported through crossborder assistance are receiving aid. As highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report, the crossline modality on its own is clearly not sufficient to meet current needs in the North East: indeed, the crossline coverage is largely similar to the one recorded in 2019. This means there has been no improvement in crossline since January 10. This is all the more worrying as the pandemic is spreading in the North-East. North-East Syria needs crossborder assistance through a dedicated crossing point.
We support all efforts to prevent and punish human rights violations.
Mass atrocity crimes won’t go unpunished.
France will continue to strongly support all efforts to collect and preserve evidence to support proceedings before competent jurisdictions.
We reaffirm the importance of sharing the full report of the Board of Inquiry with the IIIM and the Commission of Inquiry to further investigate the incidents and bring their perpetrators to justice.
Lastly, as indicated yesterday, only a political solution in line with UNSCR 2254 will bring an end to the humanitarian tragedy in Syria.
I thank you Mr. President.