"The regime in Damascus continues to oppress Syrians as the war continues" [fr]
STATEMENT BY MR WADID BENAABOU,
DEPUTY POLITICAL COORDINATOR OF FRANCE AT THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL
(Translation from French)
New York, 29 June 2022
I thank Geir Pedersen and Omar Alshogre for their interventions.
The regime in Damascus continues to oppress Syrians as the war continues.
The evidence gathered on the Tadamon massacre in April 2013 leaves no doubt about the repeated and organised war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime.
With regard to the amnesty decree decided unilaterally by the regime, we note that no verification has yet been possible by the United Nations: no figures or lists have been shared. Under these conditions, this amnesty has no reality and is not a first step. I would remind you that 120,000 people are still being held in the regime’s jails. The regime has also adopted a new law on cybercrime which allows it to make new arbitrary arrests. Furthermore, I would like to recall that the regime’s systematic use of sexual and gender-based violence in detention facilities, including against returning refugees, has been documented by the UN and civil society. Taken together, these facts show that it is futile to believe that normalisation with the regime could create stability in Syria or in the region.
I would add that the announcements about a possible Turkish military operation in northern Syria are worrying. Nothing should be done that would aggravate the crisis in that country and threaten the stability of the region as well as the efforts of the international coalition in the fight against Daech.
No lasting peace will be possible without a solid political process.
The latest meetings of the constitutional committee have not led to any tangible progress. The regime would now like the meetings not to be held in Geneva, even though the venue is agreed by the Syrians - all Syrians, including the opposition - and is included in the terms of reference of the Constitutional Committee. We can only denounce this new tactic of obstruction. It is a crude manoeuvre to turn the Constitutional Committee into an empty shell. We urge the parties and their allies to do their utmost to move forward in good faith and allow the negotiation and drafting work to begin in earnest.
As we say every month, without a political solution that is solidly in place and verifiable on the basis of Resolution 2254, French and European positions will remain unchanged on the lifting of sanctions, reconstruction and normalisation.
As you know, France will continue its relentless fight against impunity in Syria. Those responsible, particularly for war crimes and crimes against humanity, must be held accountable for their actions. This is essential to build a lasting peace.
Finally, France’s position is clear: at a time when humanitarian needs have never been so great, a renewal of the cross-border mechanism for at least twelve months is essential, as requested by the Secretary-General, UN agencies and NGOs. I call on all members of the Council to show unity and responsibility on this issue.
I thank you.