Sunday, 29 September 2013
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 08:05
|Governor Fashola Of Lagos State|
The Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, made up of the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Humane Justice International, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety) and Global Rights & Development International, Owerri, South-east Nigeria, wishes to reject in its entirety the September 26, 2013, “apology” tendered by the Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, South-West Nigeria over his abominable deportation of 72 Igbo-Lagosians from Lagos to the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, Anambra State, South-East Nigeria. The punishable act took place on July 24, 2013 at about 3: am or the hours of the blue law (a period prohibited by nature for conduct of official government affairs or transaction of its official business).
It is recalled that seventy-two (72) Nigerians of Southeast Igbo extraction resident in various parts of Lagos State were rounded up between December 2012 and January 2013 at Lagos roads’ bus stops and its streets by the operatives of Kick Against Indiscipline working for Governor Fashola’s administration and detained illegally and solitarily without trial for over six months on the orders of the Governor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (a supposedly law lord). They were held in an illegal detention premises located close to a border between Lagos and Ogun States.
In the evening of July 23, 2013, they were told to prepare to be taken back home in their Lagos residences and asked to put their names in a sheet of rough paper. Suddenly, four commuter buses with two truckload of anti riot police personnel stormed their illegal detention premises. The two trucks were marked “Rescue Operation” of the NPF, donated by LASG (Lagos State Government). They were commanded to enter the buses, after which, they found themselves under the Upper Iweka Flyover Bridge in Onitsha at about 3: am. By day break, 54 of them with undisclosed social identities had escaped, leaving behind 18, who looked hungry, tired, medically and psychologically challenged.
In the Nigerian legal system applicable to Lagos State, anti wandering, begging and public nuisance offences are usually treated as statutory and strict liability offences (usually no mens rea and witnesses are required during summary court prosecution). In other words, such offences usually receive summary court trials and lighter punishments like fines, rehabilitation and jail sentences for days, weeks and months. They share common boundaries with sanitary and traffic offences. The major safeguards for these categories of offences are the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011. This is to curb the excesses and harshness of the government in the use and prosecution of such offences. No Nigerian law permits any tier of government or State governor to detain citizens without proper court trial and conviction for months as Governor Fashola has magisterially and arbitrarily acted.
The illegal and unconstitutional internal deportation was greeted by a tray-pan of denials, falsehoods and blackmails by the Government of Lagos State, its ruling party-APC and hired agents including newspaper editors and columnists as well as sectional rights activists, online and audio-visual media. When the denials and falsehoods refused to swallow the abominable action, the Government of Lagos State came up with “14 re-unionized”, “not 72 deportees” theory and blackmailed the Government and People of Anambra State as a party to “re-unionization resettlement of 14 citizens in Onitsha”. The LASG went deeper in its falsehood by manufacturing and releasing names, towns and LGAs unknown to the Government of Anambra State, its traditional naming, LGA and community systems with a view to linking them to its manufactured 14 fictitious names. In the defense of the despicable action, the likes of Mr. Joe Igbokwe, further described Igbo-Lagosians as “419ers”, “kidnappers”, ”fraudsters” and “armed robbers”. The likes of Dr. Chris Ngige also defended the internal deportation by reportedly describing those deportees as “mad people”, “criminals” and “beggars”.
Following from these in addition to the November 16, 2013 crucial governorship poll in Anambra State as well as threats the despicable action constitute to the State’s economic strength, Governor Babatunde Fashola influenced the Silver Jubilee anniversary of one “Aka Ikenga” Igbo socio-cultural group, which is clearly sympathetic to APC and its Anambra Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2013 governorship poll, Dr. Chris Ngige. The anniversary took place on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at the National Institute for International Affair, Victoria, Island, Lagos State.
The “Aka Ikenga”, which initially condemned the callous act later developed cold feet, possibly for political reasons, and published Dr. Chris Ngige’s version of the abominable act to the effect that “Lagos State Government dropped the citizens (deportees) at a government building at the Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha when the Government of Anambra State, which agreed with its Lagos State counterpart to receive the citizens at the border between Anambra and Delta States, was nowhere to be seen”. It is important to state that neither did any government building exist at Upper Iweka nor did Anambra State enter into an agreement with the Government of Lagos State to deport any Nigerian citizens. The deportees were dumped at Onitsha Upper Iweka, not Onitsha Niger Bridgehead.
It is our collective observation that the “Aka Ikenga Silver Jubilee Anniversary”, was deliberately put in place by the APC and its government in Lagos State to offer an ill-conceived and politically motivated apology over the abominable, criminal and unconstitutional deportation of innocent and harmless citizens of Nigerians. The apology is ill-conceived because it lacks rudiments of true apology. Any apology grounded on technicalities is not a genuine apology. True apology frowns at the use of words like “if” and “misunderstood”. Genuine apology must be total, remorseful, remedial and unreserved.
Also, Governor Fashola’s apology so called, is politically motivated because it is borne of desperation by his APC and its candidate to win by hook or crook the November 16, 2013 governorship poll in Anambra State of Nigeria. On the other hand, it is possible that Governor Fashola and his other APC bigwigs has a strong feeling that they have been declared “persona non grata”, by highly irritated mass brigades in the Southeast zone, which, if true, will threaten their participation in their party’s governorship campaign rallies fixed for their governorship candidate for the November 16 governorship poll. In other words, the sudden, infantile, politically motivated and ill-conceived apology is to clear a way for their participation and safety during the rallies.
Another reason for the so called apology may not be unconnected with the recent mass calls by some leading good governance and rights advocacy groups in the Southeast zone for Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians to decongest Lagos socioeconomic dominance in Nigeria, particularly as it concerns transnational movement of persons, goods and services using airports and seaports considered friendly, cheaper, convenient and less risky to them in Nigeria. The torrential heeding of such calls is steadily being observed from left, right and center especially in the South-south, Southeast and North-central parts of Nigeria. As a result of these, the newly commissioned Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria, now hosts up to three major transport aircrafts in a week. This has drastically reduced the age-long passengers and goods and services’ patronage enjoyed by the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
For instance, while it takes N17, 000 to clear a cargoed bag from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA) in Lagos and transport it to the Southeast Nigeria, it costs a total of N7, 000 to clear it from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu and transport it to Onitsha-the commercial hub of the Southeast Nigeria. It takes up to six hours excluding excruciating Lagos traffic jams to get to Lagos and extra hotel bills to incur before travelling internationally through MMA, whereas in less than two hours without hotel bills, an international traveler is on board an international aircraft at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu. We are also glad to observe that many business merchants from the Southeast Nigeria with their shipping companies are now diverting their goods and services to Port Harcourt wharfs instead of Lagos wharfs.
We commend Igbo-Nigerian business persons and international travelers for heeding these clarion calls by our sister bodies. We urge other major airline operators in the country and beyond her borders especially those flying Southeast Asia, Fareast, Gulf, Middle East and Europe to make maximum use of this wonderful business environment and relocate to the airport with potential milk and honey (Akanu Ibiam International Airport). There is need to teach the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola and his political party the lesson of his life to serve as deterrents to others of his likes.
We consider it as further insult on the collective psyche of the Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians the disclosure by Governor Fashola that “Igbo-Nigerians donated the highest number of cows during his father’s recent funeral”. Apart from the Governor engaging in reckless abuse of animal rights by admitting to have accepted “high number of cows”, which must have turned the Alausa Government House in Ikeja into “a cow slaughter house”; it is very insulting to draw a conclusion to that effect that “highest number of cows” given and received from his few Igbo contractor-friends means that “Igbo-Nigerians are reckless cow givers and slaughters”. Igbo-Nigerians attach serious values to animal lives, rights and management. The late legal icon and rights sage, Chief Gani Fawehnmi, SAN, during his lifetime, turned down at several intervals the donation of animals, whether domestic or wild, to him during ceremonies.
While rejecting in its entirety the infantile, ill-conceived and politically motivated apology under reference, it is our collective insistence that a sincere apology and sorry must have attributes of long term remedy, clarity, precision, sincerity, genuineness and capability of the wrong or criminal policy not being repeated. The only substance in Governor Fashola’s so called apology is not the apology itself, but the fact that Governor Fashola, his party and cronies have revealed the truth and exposed themselves as liars of unimaginable proportions.
On the other hand, truth has prevailed over falsehood and we are totally vindicated! The so called apology also left unanswered the question of imposition of “Babaloja” on Igbo-Lagosians’ controlled Ladipo Market, the incessant burning of Igbo markets at night and their reclaiming by government in the daytime, various hash policies including excess taxes imposed on Igbo businesses, designed to cripple Igbo-Lagosians’ businesses, the management of “internal census figures” that gave Igbo-Lagosians 42%, which reportedly infuriated the Yorubas of Lagos State, and reportedly is the center of the ongoing “internal deportation policies”, etc.
Like our sister bodies have demanded, the Southeast Governors’ Forum and other key public office holders from the zone must not rest on their oars as it concerns revolutionary development of the zone. The zone needs direly a second Niger Bridge, reconstructed Onitsha-Enugu and Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ways, a standard sea port, a revamped modern railway system, a connecting bridge between Ndoni in Rivers State and Ogwu-ikpere in Ogbaru, Anambra State and adornment of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport with all modern international airport equipment and standards.
Signed On Behalf Of South-East G8 Rights Coalition:
1.Emeka Umeagbalasi-08033601078, 08180103912
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah-08035090548
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
3. Comrade Samuel Njoku-08039444628
For: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
4. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma-08037114869
For: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety, Nigeria)
5. Dr. Rufus Duru-08037513519
For: Global Rights & Development International
6. Comrade Emma Onwubiko-08033327672
For: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
7. Comrade Peter Onyegiri-07036892777
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Comrade Ifeanyi Onuchukwu-08096940019
For: Humane Justice International
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 07:18
Saturday, 28 September 2013
Deeply outraged by the use of chemical weapons on 21 August in a Damascus suburb, as concluded by a United Nations investigation team, the Security Council this evening endorsed the expeditious destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, with inspections to begin by 1 October, and agreed that in the event of non-compliance, it would impose “Chapter VII” measures.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2118 (2013) in a fast-breaking evening meeting, the Council determined that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constituted a threat to international peace and security, and called for the full implementation of the 27 September decision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which contains special procedures for the expeditious and verifiable destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Specifically, the Council prohibited Syria from using, developing, producing, otherwise acquiring, stockpiling or retaining chemical weapons, or transferring them to other States or non-State actors, and underscored also that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer such weapons.
Also by the text, Syria should comply with all aspects of the OPCW decision, notably by accepting personnel designated by OPCW or the United Nations and providing them with immediate and unfettered access to — and the right to inspect — any and all chemical weapons sites.
Further, the Council decided to regularly review Syria’s implementation of the OPCW Executive Council decision and the present resolution, requesting the OPCW Director-General, through the Secretary-General, to report to it within 30 days and every month thereafter. Fully endorsing the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, the Council called for the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on Syria to implement that Communiqué.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the resolution’s passage as “the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time”, but said, even amid that important step, “we must never forget that the catalogue of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns”. He said the plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons was “not a license to kill with conventional weapons”.
Stressing that the perpetrators of the chemical attacks in Syria must be brought to justice, he said a United Nations mission had returned to complete its fact-finding investigation. The team would conclude its work next week and he would promptly transmit a report to all Member States.
He pressed the Council to capitalize on its new-found unity by focusing on two other equally crucial dimensions of the conflict: the dire humanitarian situation and the political crisis. For their parts, the Syrian sides must engage constructively towards the creation of a democratic State, while regional actors must challenge those who sought to undermine that process.
In the debate that followed, Council members praised the text for placing binding obligations on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, requiring it to get rid of its “tools of terror”. United States Secretary of State John Kerry said that that regime bore the burden of meeting the terms of the resolution.
At the same time, Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, emphasized that the responsibility for implementing the resolution did not lay with Syria alone. The text had not been passed under the Charter's Chapter VII, nor did it allow for coercive measures. It contained requirements for all countries, especially Syria's neighbours, which must report on moves by non-State actors to secure chemical weapons.
Also speaking in today’s debate were the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, France, Azerbaijan, Republic of Korea, China, Guatemala, Morocco and Argentina, as well as the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.
The representatives of Rwanda, Togo and Australia also spoke.
The meeting began at 8:15 p.m. and ended at 9:45 p.m.
The Security Council met this evening to consider the situation in Syria.
Describing the resolution just adopted as "historic" and "the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time", United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said the international community had given a firm and united response.
Stating that the perpetrators of the chemical attacks in Syria must be brought to justice, he said a United Nations mission had returned to complete its investigation. The team would conclude its fact-finding activities next week and the Secretary-General would promptly transmit a report to all Member States.
Welcoming Syria's accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) established ambitious but realistic deadlines for the verified elimination of the programme.
The resolution would ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme happened as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency, he said, stressing that the cooperation of the Syrian Government and opposition forces would be crucial.
Declaring that a red light for one form of weapons did not mean a green light for others, he said that all violence must end and all guns must fall silent. “We must capitalize on the new-found unity of the Council by focusing on the two other equally crucial dimension of the conflict: the dire humanitarian situation and the political crisis,” he urged.
The text, he noted, also called for an international conference on Syria, which both the Government and the opposition had said they would attend. He said the conference was aimed for mid-November.
No one was naïve to the challenges of ending the conflict peacefully, he said. The Syrian sides must engage constructively towards the creation of a democratic State, while the regional actors must challenge those who actively sought to undermine the process and who did not respect Syria’s sovereignty.
As for the Security Council members, he said that, individually and collectively, they had a key role in ushering the Geneva process forward towards a lasting peaceful solution.
SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the resolution was in keeping with the Russian-American agreement. The lead role in the coming work lay with OPCW, which, along with the United Nations experts, would act impartially in Syria in full respect of its sovereignty. He expected the Secretary-General and the OPCW Director-General to closely cooperate in that work. He also expected that the Secretary-General's recommendations would cover the safety of international personnel.
Noting that Damascus had shown its readiness for cooperation by joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said that was a precondition for success. It also had provided a list of its chemical weapons arsenal. Damascus would continue to cooperate with international inspectors. The responsibility for implementing the resolution did not lay only with Syria. He emphasized that the text had not been passed under the Charter's Chapter VII, nor did it allow coercive measures. Violations of its requirements and use of chemical weapons by anyone must be carefully investigated. The United Nations would stand ready to take action under the Charter's Chapter VII. Violations must be 100 per cent proven.
The resolution contained requirements for all countries, he said, especially Syria's neighbours, which must report on moves by non-State actors to secure chemical weapons. All such situations should be considered immediately by the Security Council, as that would help create a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. The resolution set up a framework for the political settlement of the conflict by backing the convening of an international conference, which he believed could take place as early as mid-November. He also expected the Syrian opposition to state its readiness. The Russian Federation would participate in implementing the chemical disarmament programme and in preparing for the Geneva II conference.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State of the United States, said today's strong, "precedent-setting" resolution had shown that diplomacy could be so powerful, it could peacefully defuse the worst weapons of war. The text stated that chemical weapons use threatened international peace and security — at any time, under any circumstances. With a single voice, for the first time, binding obligations had been placed on the Assad regime, requiring that it get rid of its tools of terror. The text reflected what the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States had set out to do, and more; it sought to eliminate a country's chemical weapons ability.
He went on to say that those weapons would be destroyed by mid-2014. The resolution also made clear that those responsible for their use must be held accountable. The Council had endorsed the Geneva Communiqué, and it had adopted a legally binding resolution that spelled out in detail what Syria must do to comply with it. It could not accept or reject the inspectors, but must give unfettered access at all sites. “We are here because actions have consequences,” he said.
Progress would be reported to the Council, he said, stressing that non-compliance would lead to the imposition of Chapter VII actions. The Council had shown that “when we put aside politics for the common good, we are still capable of great things”. The Assad regime carried the burden of meeting the terms of the resolution; the world carried the burden of doing what it must to end mass killing by other means — working with the same cooperation that had brought States here today. Countries also must provide humanitarian aid. Only then would the world have fulfilled its duty.
WILLIAM HAGUE, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said today's "groundbreaking” text, the first on Syria in 17 months, recognized that any use of chemical weapons posed a threat to international peace and security, thereby establishing an important international norm. It upheld the principle of accountability for the proven use of those weapons, enforced legally binding obligations on Syria to comply with OPCW, and it endorsed the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. If properly implemented, the resolution would prevent a repeat of atrocities carried out on 21 August.
He said the United Kingdom was making a $3 million commitment to the OPCW Syria trust fund and urged all States in a position to do so to contribute likewise. It was vital that the Council build on today's consensus to progress towards sustainable resolution of the Syrian crisis, first, by achieving a negotiated political transition, with a transitional body formed on the basis of mutual consent. He urged increased efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, for which the United Kingdom, thus far, had provided $800 million. The Council must apply its weight to secure unfettered access to those in need in Syria. With that, he urged redoubled determination to work through the Geneva II process and secure a better future for Syria.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, said the resolution contained robust and legally binding obligations, with which Syria must fully comply. One of the most significant chemical weapons programmes had been addressed through peaceful means. Recounting the horrific images emerging from that country, he said it was important that those never be reproduced. “For the first time, the Security Council has determined chemical weapons use is a threat to international peace.”
Urging the Syrian Government to respect the aspirations of all Syrians, he called upon all parties to take advantage of the positive dynamics, adding that any delay would lead to more death and more destruction. The world could not forget the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and its neighbours. In that connection, he urged Syria to grant free and unfettered access and lift bureaucratic obstacles. “Time has come to refer the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court,” he declared.
LAURENT FABIUS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said “tonight, in the midst of the Syrian crisis, the Security Council can finally live up to its name”. The use of chemical weapons was obvious; all clues pointed to the regime. No one in good faith could deny that fact. The present resolution met France’s three requirements: it determined that the use of chemical weapons constituted a threat to international peace and security; clearly stated that those responsible for such crimes must be held accountable; and decided that, in the event of non-compliance by the Syrian regime, the Council would take action under Chapter VII of the Charter. The resolution was only a first step; now it must be implemented. The Syrian regime, which until recently had denied possessing chemical weapons, could not be trusted. The United Nations and OPCW should immediately deploy their joint mission; the timetable set forth in the present text must be enforced.
He added that “the cooperation of Syria must be unconditional, and fully transparent”. The Council, which would be informed regularly, would be the judge of Syria’s commitment, and would impose measures under Chapter VII, if necessary. France would remain “watchful”. It wanted to capitalize on the Council’s unity to advance the political process and felt it was necessary to prepare the Geneva II conference within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué. He had chaired a meeting on Thursday with the President of the Syrian National Coalition, who confirmed a readiness to send a delegation as soon as possible. The Syrian regime’s supporters must make a similar commitment. He urged the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy to move quickly in that direction.
ELMAR MAHARRAM OGLU MAMMADYAROV, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, welcomed the resolution and expressed hope that it would help to end the crisis. He said it was important that the Security Council stressed the need to hold accountable the perpetrators of the chemical attacks in Syria. Welcoming the American-Russian accord on Syria and the OPCW role, he said it was critical to ensure compliance, adding that tonight’s resolution had made careful provisions for that. All parties should cease the violence, he said, and seek a political solution to the conflict.
YUN BYUNG-SE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said the resolution showed the Council's unity on the Syrian crisis, fulfilling its overdue responsibility to the Syrian people. Condemning the use of chemical weapons in the strongest possible terms, he reiterated that all such weapons should be eliminated — in Syria and everywhere. Today's text made it clear that chemical weapons use anywhere was a threat to international peace and security. Only its full implementation would determine the value of the collective enterprise. Its binding nature showed the Council's resolve to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, and the international community bore responsibility for promoting its implementation. The world could not afford acts of impunity, and, as such, the Council must ensure that those responsible for chemical weapons use were held accountable. He hoped an international conference would be held as soon as possible.
WANG YI, Foreign Minister of China, said that neither Syria nor the region could afford another war. The Security Council and the international community must make decisions that would pass the judgement of history. Stating his opposition to military solutions, he welcomed the resolution's focus on the search for the chemical weapons. China, itself, had been a victim of chemical weapons during the Second World War, and the country opposed those weapons in all forms. He called for a comprehensive and accurate settlement of the issue of chemical weapons in Syria, and urged the international community to also step up efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis there. The political solution and the destruction of chemical weapons must go side by side, he said, adding that the parties in Syria must redouble efforts in what would be a complex period ahead.
FERNANDO CARRERA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, welcomed the rejection of the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Russian Federation and the United States and the subsequent 14 September framework agreement. Today’s Council decision was “highly significant”, as it helped renew efforts to end the violence, address the humanitarian situation and meet the Syrian people’s demands. Towards that end, Guatemala had persistently backed the 30 June 2012 Final Communiqué of the Action Group for Syria and the need to hold an international conference to facilitate its implementation. Adoption of the present text, which Guatemala had co-sponsored, was of vital importance, considering that the last resolution on Syria had been adopted in April 2012. He understood the sensitivity of the issue and the urgency it demanded, and for that reason, had joined the consensus, despite having preferred a greater role in its development.
He recognized the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and OPCW, particularly in terms of personnel access and safety, operational support, privileges and immunities, and sufficient funding to carry out their duties. He trusted that a date could be set soon for the Geneva II Conference, and added that a transitional Syrian Government with full executive powers could be set up under the mutual consent of all parties. Such a Government must be inclusive. He expressed hope for a ceasefire in the short term.
SARTAJ AZIZ, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on National Security and Foreign Affairs, said the resolution was a landmark text, which demonstrated the Security Council’s leadership. Its unanimous adoption meant the international community had taken ownership of the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons programme. He hoped the new-found unity in the Council would be maintained, and added that the 15-member body would have difficult waters to navigate. A political settlement was the only way forward, including to mitigate the humanitarian crisis. The announcement of the convening of Geneva II reflected the urgency of the problem, he said, adding that the international community should proceed with a sense of purpose. Although it was too late for more than 100,000 Syrians, there was hope for millions of others.
SAAD-EDDINE EL OTHMANI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said "at last" the Council had been able to agree on an important resolution on the Syrian situation that reflected a genuine will to end the conflict. He appreciated efforts made by the “P-5” towards a solution that would find, destroy and ensure that chemical weapons were never used again. The League of Arab States also had led initiatives on the Syrian situation and the use of chemical weapons. Today’s historic text outlined steps for dealing with chemical weapons, in line with the United States-Russian Federation agreement. For the first time, it recognized chemical weapons were a threat to international peace and security. That would help to prevent a repeat of recent massacres, eliminating one of the Middle East's largest chemical weapons arsenals in a peaceful manner. Morocco hoped a date would soon be set for the holding of the Geneva II Conference. Syria’s humanitarian situation was a catastrophe and every effort must be made to support United Nations agencies to help in that regard. Syria's neighbours were also suffering.
HÉCTOR MARCOS TIMERMAN, Foreign Minister of Argentina, noting that the unfolding “horror show” was neither isolated nor unpredictable. Nevertheless, a door had been opened to a solution. The world saw the pettiness of the geopolitical interests at play, which had prompted ethical outrage in the international community. There was no leeway for double standards, he said, adding that those using chemical weapons must not go unpunished. The multilateral regime established by the United Nations Charter must be the basis for the lasting peace. The resolution established a specific mechanism for the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria on the basis of the United States-Russian Federation accord, and it also contained elements discussed in the Council, which had prompted Argentina to co-sponsor it. He called for greater efforts to address the other dimensions of the conflict and said the Council must remain seized of the matter.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) said that, as the world prepared for the twentieth anniversary of the killing of Tutsis in his country, the conscience of the international community had been stained by the ongoing conflict in Syria, now in its thirteenth month. “We said ‘never again’ in Rwanda”; yet ethnic cleansing and other horrors had occurred in many corners of the world. The Council had not been able to save more than 100,000 people in Syria, due to divisions among certain members. The 21 August attack had led to the loss of innocent lives.
He welcomed the Council's decision to impose coercive measures under the Charter’s Chapter VII, should Syrian authorities not comply with today's text. He was pleased it called for the revival of the Geneva process. A military solution was not viable for that country or for the region. He urged the Council — especially the “P-5” countries that had influence on Syrian parties — to implement the Geneva Communiqué as soon as possible. Any political solution should ensure that those who had committed crimes were held accountable.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo), welcoming the resolution’s adoption, said the spirit of compromise had eventually prevailed. The Russian-American framework laid the groundwork for the text, he said, adding that, by co-sponsoring it, Togo not only had demonstrated its desire to see the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, but also of all weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council must step up efforts for a radiant future for Syria through the Geneva II Conference, he said, adding that the unity demonstrated in the Council must be used to bring together all parties in Syria for a political solution. The Council also must pay attention to the terrorist violence committed in that country, he said, adding that an inclusive and multi-faith Syria would bring unity and conciliation.
GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) expressed hope that today's text would mark a turning point in the Council's approach to Syria, showing that the body could use its authority to help achieve a stable and secure future for Syrians. For the first time, the Council had made clear that chemical weapons use was a threat to international peace and security, strengthening a fundamental norm of international relations: that the use of those weapons was abhorrent and breached international law.
He said that the text imposed legally binding obligations on Syria to secure and destroy its chemical weapons, and place them and related materials under international supervision. The Council decided that non-compliance by Syria would result in Chapter VII consequences. Importantly, the Council reaffirmed that the perpetrators of that mass atrocity crimes must be held accountable. Australia believed that available data showed that the Syrian authorities were responsible for chemical weapons use and that the Council should refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. Also, for the first time, the Council endorsed the Geneva Communiqué. It must now address humanitarian crisis more decisively.
The full text of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
Recalling the Statements of its President of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012, 5 April 2012, and its resolutions 1540 (2004), 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012),
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Reaffirming that the proliferation of chemical weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
Recalling that the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 November 1968 acceded to the Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, signed at Geneva on 17 June 1925,
Noting that on 14 September 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic deposited with the Secretary-General its instrument of accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Convention) and declared that it shall comply with its stipulations and observe them faithfully and sincerely, applying the Convention provisionally pending its entry into force for the Syrian Arab Republic,
Welcoming the establishment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic (the Mission) pursuant to General Assembly resolution 42/37 C (1987) of 30 November 1987, and reaffirmed by resolution 620 (1988) of 26 August 1988, and expressing appreciation for the work of the Mission,
Acknowledging the report of 16 September 2013 (S/2013/553) by the Mission, underscoring the need for the Mission to fulfil its mandate, and emphasizing that future credible allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian Arab Republic should be investigated,
Deeply outraged by the use of chemical weapons on 21 August 2013 in Rif Damascus, as concluded in the Mission’s report, condemning the killing of civilians that resulted from it, affirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law, and stressing that those responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,
Recalling the obligation under resolution 1540 (2004) that all States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons and their means of delivery,
Welcoming the Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons dated 14 September 2013, in Geneva, between the Russian Federation and the United States of America (S/2013/565), with a view to ensuring the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme in the soonest and safest manner, and expressing its commitment to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in the Syrian Arab Republic,
Welcoming the decision of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of 27 September 2013 establishing special procedures for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof, and expressing its determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons program according to the timetable contained in the OPCW Executive Council decision of 27 September 2013,
Stressing that the only solution to the current crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, andemphasising the need to convene the international conference on Syria as soon as possible,
Determining that the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
Underscoring that Member States are obligated under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to accept and carry out the Council's decisions,
1.Determines that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
2.Condemns in the strongest terms any use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular the attack on 21 August 2013, in violation of international law;
3.Endorses the decision of the OPCW Executive Council 27 September 2013, which contains special procedures for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof and calls for its full implementation in the most expedient and safest manner;
4.Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall not use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to other States or non-State actors;
5.Underscores that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons;
6.Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall comply with all aspects of the decision of the OPCW Executive Council of 27 September 2013 (Annex I);
7.Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations, including by complying with their relevant recommendations, by accepting personnel designated by the OPCW or the United Nations, by providing for and ensuring the security of activities undertaken by these personnel, by providing these personnel with immediate and unfettered access to and the right to inspect, in discharging their functions, any and all sites, and by allowing immediate and unfettered access to individuals that the OPCW has grounds to believe to be of importance for the purpose of its mandate, and decides that all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully in this regard;
8.Decides to authorize an advance team of United Nations personnel to provide early assistance to OPCW activities in Syria, requests the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General to closely cooperate in the implementation of the Executive Council decision of 27 September 2013 and this resolution, including through their operational activities on the ground, and further requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Director-General of the OPCW and, where appropriate, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, to submit to the Council within 10 days of the adoption of this resolution recommendations regarding the role of the United Nations in eliminating the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons program;
9.Notes that the Syrian Arab Republic is a party to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, decides that OPCW-designated personnel undertaking activities provided for in this resolution or the decision of the OPCW Executive Council of 27 September 2013 shall enjoy the privileges and immunities contained in the Verification Annex, Part II(B) of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and calls on the Syrian Arab Republic to conclude modalities agreements with the United Nations and the OPCW;
10.Encourages Member States to provide support, including personnel, technical expertise, information, equipment, and financial and other resources and assistance, in coordination with the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General, to enable the OPCW and the United Nations to implement the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme, anddecides to authorize Member States to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons identified by the Director-General of the OPCW, consistent with the objective of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to ensure the elimination of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme in the soonest and safest manner;
11.Urges all Syrian parties and interested Member States with relevant capabilities to work closely together and with the OPCW and the United Nations to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, recognizing the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in this regard;
12.Decides to review on a regular basis the implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic of the decision of the OPCW Executive Council of 27 September 2013 and this resolution, and requeststhe Director-General of the OPCW to report to the Security Council, through the Secretary-General, who shall include relevant information on United Nations activities related to the implementation of this resolution, within 30 days and every month thereafter, and requests further the Director-General of the OPCW and the Secretary-General to report in a coordinated manner, as needed, to the Security Council, non-compliance with this resolution or the OPCW Executive Council decision of 27 September 2013;
13.Reaffirms its readiness to consider promptly any reports of the OPCW under Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of cases of non-compliance to the United Nations Security Council;
14.Decides that Member States shall inform immediately the Security Council of any violation of resolution 1540(2004), including acquisition by non-State actors of chemical weapons, their means of delivery and related materials in order to take necessary measures therefore;
15.Expresses its strong conviction that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic should be held accountable;
16.Endorses fully the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 (Annex II), which sets out a number of key steps beginning with the establishment of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers, which could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent;
17.Calls for the convening, as soon as possible, of an international conference on Syria to implement the Geneva Communiqué, and calls upon all Syrian parties to engage seriously and constructively at the Geneva Conference on Syria, and underscores that they should be fully representative of the Syrian people and committed to the implementation of the Geneva Communiqué and to the achievement of stability and reconciliation;
18.Reaffirms that all Member States shall refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and calls upon all Member States, in particular Member States neighbouring the Syrian Arab Republic, to report any violations of this paragraph to the Security Council immediately;
19.Demands that non-State actors not develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, and calls upon all Member States, in particular Member States neighbouring the Syrian Arab Republic, to report any actions inconsistent with this paragraph to the Security Council immediately;
20.Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of chemical weapons, related equipment, goods and technology or assistance from the Syrian Arab Republic by their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, whether or not originating in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic;
21.Decides, in the event of non-compliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter;
22.Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
OPCW Executive Council Decision
Decision on destruction of Syrian chemical weapons
The Executive Council,
Recalling that following its thirty-second Meeting, 27 March 2013, the Chairperson of the Executive Council (hereinafter “the Council”) issued a statement (EC-M-32/2/Rev.1, dated 27 March 2013) expressing “deep concern that chemical weapons may have been used in the Syrian Arab Republic”, and underlining that “the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances would be reprehensible and completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community
Recalling also that the third Review Conference (RC-3/3*, 19 April 2013) expressed “deep concern that chemical weapons may have been used in the Syrian Arab Republic and underlined that use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances would be reprehensible and completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community
Noting the “Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013,” (S/2013/553, dated 16 September 2013) prepared by the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, dated 16 September 2013, which concludes that “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale
Condemning in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons;
Welcoming the Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons agreed upon by the United States and the Russian Federation on 14 September 2013 (EC-M-33/NAT.1, dated 17 September 2013);
Noting also that on 12 September 2013, in its communication to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Syrian Arab Republic notified its intention to apply the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (hereinafter “the Convention”) provisionally;
Noting further that on 14 September 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations its instrument of accession to the Convention and declared that it shall comply with its stipulations and observe them faithfully and sincerely, applying the Convention provisionally pending its entry into force for the Syrian Arab Republic, which was notified to all States Parties by the depositary on the same date (C.N.592.2013.TREATIES-XXVI.3), and taking into account that the depositary received no communications to the contrary from the States Parties with regard to this declaration;
Noting further that the Convention enters into force for the Syrian Arab Republic on 14 October 2013;
Recognizing the extraordinary character of the situation posed by Syrian chemical weapons and determined to ensure that the activities necessary for the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons programme start immediately pending the formal entry into force of the Convention with respect to the Syrian Arab Republic, and are conducted in the most rapid and safe manner;
Recognizing also the invitation of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to receive immediately a technical delegation from the OPCW and to cooperate with the OPCW in accordance with the provisional application of the Convention prior to its entry into force for the Syrian Arab Republic, and noting the designation by the Syrian Arab Republic to the Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) of its National Authority;
Emphasising that the provisional application of the Convention gives immediate effect to its provisions with respect to the Syrian Arab Republic;
Noting further that the Syrian Arab Republic submitted on 19 September 2013 the detailed information, including names, types and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities;
Noting further that pursuant to paragraph 36 of Article VIII of the Convention, the Council, following its consideration of doubts or concerns regarding compliance and cases of non-compliance, shall, in cases of particular gravity and urgency, bring the issue or matter, including relevant information and conclusions, directly to the attention of the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council;
Taking into account the Agreement Concerning the Relationship between the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of 17 October 2000;
Strongly urging all remaining States not Party to the Convention to ratify or accede to it as a matter of urgency and without preconditions, in the interests of enhancing their own national security, as well as contributing to global peace and security; and
Recalling that, pursuant to paragraph 8 of Article IV and paragraph 10 of Article V of the Convention, a State acceding to the Convention after 2007 shall destroy its chemical weapons and its chemical weapons production facilities as soon as possible, and the Council shall determine the “order of destruction and procedures for stringent verification” of such destruction;
1. Decides that the Syrian Arab Republic shall:
(a) not later than 7 days after the adoption of this decision, submit to the Secretariat further information, to supplement that provided on 19 September 2013, on the chemical weapons as defined in paragraph1 of Article II of the Convention that the Syrian Arab Republic owns or possesses, or has under its jurisdiction or control, in particular:
(i) the chemical name and military designator of each chemical in its chemical weapons stockpile, including precursors and toxins, and quantities thereof;
(ii) the specific type of munitions, sub-munitions and devices in its chemical weapons stockpile, including specific quantities of each type that are filled and unfilled; and
(iii)the location of all of its chemical weapons, chemical weapons storage facilities, chemical weapons production facilities, including mixing and filling facilities and chemical weapons research and development facilities, providing specific geographic coordinates;
(b) not later than 30 days after the adoption of this decision, submit to the Secretariat the declaration required by Article III of the Convention;
(c)complete the elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014, subject to the detailed requirements, including intermediate destruction milestones, to be decided by the Council not later than 15 November 2013;
(d)complete as soon as possible and in any case not later than 1 November 2013, the destruction of chemical weapons production and mixing/filling equipment;
(e) cooperate fully with all aspects of the implementation of this decision, including by providing the OPCW personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in the Syrian Arab Republic;
(f)designate an official as the main point of contact for the Secretariat and provide him or her with the authority necessary to ensure that this decision is fully implemented.
2.Decides further that the Secretariat shall:
(a)make available to all States Parties, within five days of its receipt, any information or declaration referred to in this decision, which shall be handled in accordance with the Annex to the Convention on the Protection of Confidential Information;
(b)as soon as possible and in any case not later than 1 October 2013, initiate inspections in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to this decision;
(c) inspect not later than 30 days after the adoption of this decision, all facilities contained in the list referred to in paragraph 1 (a) above;
(d)inspect as soon as possible any other site identified by a State Party as having been involved in the Syrian chemical weapons programme, unless deemed unwarranted by the Director-General, or the matter resolved through the process of consultations and cooperation;
(e)be authorized to hire, on a short-term basis, qualified inspectors and other technical experts and to rehire, on a short-term basis, inspectors, other technical experts and such other personnel as may be required whose term of service has recently expired, in order to ensure efficient and effective implementation of this decision in accordance with paragraph 44 of Article VIII of the Convention; and
(f)report to the Council on a monthly basis on implementation of this decision including progress achieved by the Syrian Arab Republic in meeting the requirements of this decision and the Convention, activities carried out by the Secretariat with respect to the Syrian Arab Republic and its needs for any supplementary resources, particularly technical and personnel resources.
3. Decides further:
(a)to consider, on an urgent basis, the funding mechanisms for activities carried out by the Secretariat with respect to the Syrian Arab Republic, and to call upon all States Parties in a position to do so to provide voluntary contributions for activities carried out in the implementation of this decision;
(b)to meet within 24 hours if the Director-General reports delay by the Syrian Arab Republic in meeting the requirements of this decision or the Convention, including, inter alia, the cases referred to in paragraph 7 of Part II of the Annex to the Convention on Implementation and Verification, or a lack of cooperation in the Syrian Arab Republic or another problem that has arisen with regard to the implementation of this decision and at that meeting to consider whether to bring the matter, including relevant information and conclusions, to the attention of the United Nations Security Council in accordance with paragraph 36 of Article VIII of the Convention;
(c) to remain seized of the matter; and
(d)to recognize that this decision is made due to the extraordinary character of the situation posed by Syrian chemical weapons and does not create any precedent for the future.
Action Group for Syria Final Communiqué
30 June 2012
1. On 30 June 2012, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States) and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy met at the United Nations Office at Geneva as the Action Group for Syria, chaired by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to Syria.
2.The members of the Action Group came together out of grave alarm at the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. They strongly condemn the continued and escalating killing, destruction and human rights abuses. They are deeply concerned at the failure to protect civilians, the intensification of the violence, the potential for even deeper conflict in the country and the regional dimensions of the problem. The unacceptable nature and magnitude of the crisis demands a common position and joint international action.
3.The members of the Action Group are committed to the sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They are determined to work urgently and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses, and to facilitate the launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future.
4.In order to secure these common objectives, the members of the Action Group (a) identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms; (b) agreed on principles and guidelines for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and (c) agreed on actions that they would take to implement the objectives in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process. They are convinced that this can encourage and support progress on the ground and will help to facilitate and support a Syrian-led transition.
Identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms
5.The parties must fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012). To that end:
(a)All parties must recommit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and to the implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others. The Government and armed opposition groups must cooperate with the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (UNSMIS), with a view to furthering the implementation of the plan in accordance with the Mission’s mandate;
(b)A cessation of armed violence must be sustained, with immediate, credible and visible actions by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to implement the other items of the six-point plan, including:
(i)Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities; the provision, without delay and through appropriate channels, of a list of all places in which such persons are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such locations; and the provision, through appropriate channels, of prompt responses to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
(ii)Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
(iii)Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully, as legally guaranteed;
(c)In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for the safety and security of UNSMIS and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects;
(d)In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full humanitarian access by humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave must be enabled to do so. All parties must fully adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the protection of civilians.
Agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition
6.The members of the Action Group agreed on the principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition set out below.
7.Any political settlement must deliver to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic a transition that:
(a)Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in the Syrian Arab Republic;
(b)Establishes clear steps according to a firm timetable towards the realization of that perspective;
(c)Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all and of stability and calm;
(d)Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.
8. Perspective for the future. The aspirations of the people of the Syrian Arab Republic have been clearly expressed by the wide range of Syrians consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a State that:
(a)Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections. This also means that the commitment to multiparty democracy must be a lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections;
(b)Complies with international standards on human rights, the independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in Government and the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment. There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that these commitments are kept by those in authority;
(c)Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their rights will be respected.
9.Clear steps in the transition. The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic will end only when all sides are assured that there is a peaceful way towards a common future for all in the country. It is therefore essential that any settlement provide for clear and irreversible steps in the transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition include:
(a)The establishment of a transitional governing body that can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place, with the transitional governing body exercising full executive powers. It could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent;
(b)It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in the Syrian Arab Republic must be enabled to participate in a national dialogue process. That process must be not only inclusive but also meaningful. In other words, its key outcomes must be implemented;
(c)On that basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval;
(d)Upon establishment of the new constitutional order, it will be necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multiparty elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established;
(e)Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.
10.Safety, stability and calm. Any transition involves change. However, it is essential to ensure that the transition can be implemented in a way that ensures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
(a)Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with the transitional governing body to ensure the permanent cessation of violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the issue of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups;
(b)Effective steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and that immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need. It is also necessary to ensure that the release of the detained is completed rapidly;
(c)Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. Public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including the intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and professional standards and operate under a leadership that inspires public confidence, under the control of the transitional governing body;
(d) Commitment to accountability and national reconciliation. Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.
11.Rapid steps to come to a credible political agreement. It is for the people of the Syrian Arab Republic to come to a political agreement, but time is running out. It is clear that:
(a)The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be respected;
(b)The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in place;
(c).There must be an end to the bloodshed. All parties must recommit themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of armed violence in all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions to implement points 2 to 6 of the six-point plan;
(d)All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive in order to ensure that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the political settlement for the transition;
(e)The organized international community, including the members of the Action Group, stands ready to offer significant support for the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include an international assistance presence under a United Nations mandate if requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and rehabilitation.
12.actions that the members of the Group will take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process are as follows:
(a)Action Group members will engage as appropriate, and apply joint and sustained pressure on, the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to take the steps and measures outlined in paragraph 5 above;
(b)Action Group members are opposed to any further militarization of the conflict;
(c)Action Group members emphasize to the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic the importance of the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor, when requested by the Joint Special Envoy to do so, to work on the basis of the six point plan and the present communiqué;
(d)Action Group members urge the opposition to increase cohesion and to be in a position to ensure effective representative interlocutors to work on the basis of the six-point plan and the present communiqué;
(e)Action Group members will give full support to the Joint Special Envoy and his team as they immediately engage the Government and the opposition, and will consult widely with Syrian society, as well as other international actors, to further develop the way forward;
(f)Action Group members would welcome the further convening by the Joint Special Envoy of a meeting of the Action Group, should he deem it necessary to review the concrete progress taken on all points agreed in the present communiqué and to determine what further and additional steps and actions are needed from the Action Group to address the crisis. The Joint Special Envoy will also keep the United Nations and the League of Arab States informed.”
Posted by PublicInformationProjects at 11:48