The use of chemical weapons by President Assad’s regime in Syria is a moral outrage that cannot go unchallenged.
Alan Duncan meets families who fled the fighting in Syria
International Development Minister Alan Duncan meets with child refugees along the Jordan-Syrian border. During the visit he spoke to families who had fled some of the worst affected fighting in Syria.
He is the first British Minister to visit the border since the unrest in Syria began last year. Mr. Duncan called for the Syrian Government to implement the agreed humanitarian plan, which commits it to allowing access for aid agencies and the UN.
International Development Minister Alan Duncan said:
I have spoken to families today who told me first-hand of the devastating harm and deadly effect the ongoing violence is having in villages and towns across Syria. Thousands have been killed and wounded and many more have fled their homes as a result of the horrendous violence. There is a clear risk that thousands more will follow them in the weeks and months ahead if the violence doesn’t stop.
The regime has committed serious human rights violations against its own citizens. Britain and the wider international community is providing much-needed help but the situation will only worsen unless there is an immediate end to the bloodshed and the Assad regime gives unrestricted access for humanitarian agencies to help those in need.
Source: Flickr / dfid
Throughout the crisis the British Government has consistently condemned the appalling violence, called for the Syrian regime to cease all attacks and for President Assad to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people. Read about UK action and latest updates here ›
There are credible and horrific reports that a large number of civilians have been massacred at the hands of Syrian forces in the town of Houla, including children.
Our urgent priority is to establish a full account of this appalling crime and to move swiftly to ensure that those responsible are identified and held to account. We are consulting urgently with our allies on a strong international response, including at the UN Security Council, the EU and UN Human Rights bodies. We will be calling for an urgent session of the UN Security Council in the coming days.
The Assad regime must ensure full and immediate access to Houla and other conflict areas in Syria for the UN monitoring team, and cease all military operations in full compliance with Joint Special Envoy’s Kofi Annan’s six-point plan.
President Assad and his closest cronies should be under no doubt that they will be held to account for their actions. All those with influence over the Syrian leadership, including Russia, have a duty to back efforts to stop the violence and to isolate a regime which is as doomed as it is dangerous to the Syrian people.
Today the Security Council has unanimously demanded that the Syrian regime meet its commitment to pull back troops by 10 April and end the violence, further backing Kofi Annan and his six point plan. It has made clear that we will not accept any more broken promises or allow Assad’s brutal assault to continue. The Syrian authorities must prove to the international community and more importantly the Syrian people that they are sincere about ending the killing. If they do not, the Security Council must act to increase the pressure on the regime.
Today’s UNGA resolution sends a signal of united condemnation of the Syrian regime’s systematic human rights abuses.
I welcome the wide support it received, including the fact that it was co-sponsored by Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey. “It calls on the Syrian government to end the appalling violence and implement the Arab League’s plan of action without delay.
As long as the crisis in Syria continues the international pressure on the Assad regime will only intensify.
The Syrian people are calling for peaceful reform. The Arab Spring demonstrates that the universal aspiration for open societies, political freedoms and transparent and accountable government cannot be suppressed. President Assad and his regime are deluding themselves if they believe they can halt this tide. I once again call on President Assad to stop the violence and step aside so that credible reform can begin. We will continue to work with our partners and through the UN to support the aspirations of Syrian people.
The pressure on Assad and his regime is mounting. We will continue to work with our partners and through the United Nations to support the Syrian people’s demands for reforms delivering the fundamental rights and freedoms that are common to us all. President Assad has been completely rejected by the Syrian people. I reiterate our call that he must step aside now.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom reiterate their utter condemnation of this bloody repression of peaceful and courageous demonstrators and the massive violations of human rights which President Assad and his authorities have been committing for months. We are actively supporting further strong EU sanctions against the regime of President Assad.
We urge the Syrian regime to stop all violence immediately, to release all prisoners of conscience and to allow free access to the United Nations for an independent assessment of the situation.