The United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK) condemns utterly the use of chemical weapons by any party within Syria. UNA-UK also continues to condemn any targeting of civilians or any reckless action whereby civilians are put at risk of injury or death. All parties to the conflict should act with restraint and the Syrian administration must recognise that it has the primary responsibility to protect all populations within its state boundaries.
Should any party be found culpable for the most recent chemical attacks where civilians have been injured or killed - and to this end, it is essential that sufficient time is allowed for UN weapons inspectors to carry out thorough assessments - UNA-UK urges the international community to work through the United Nations to bring the perpetrators to justice and deter any future usage of such weapons.
Any potential action should, where possible, be mandated by the UN Security Council, and be supported by regional organisations including the League of Arab States. Should intervention by the international community be deemed appropriate, any mandate for action should be proportionate, have a transparent purpose and end-point, and should not further endanger civilian lives.
At the same time, UNA-UK places just as high a priority on action to end the strife in Syria by political means. Dialogue must include a wide range of stakeholders inside and outside the country. UNA-UK urges the international community to move quickly to encourage all parties to the conflict to engage in discussions with the aim of bringing about a ceasefire and taking part in peace negotiations.
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This issue of the UNA-UK Magazine looks at the seemingly intractable crisis in Syria, and in particular, the UN’s response to it. We are delighted and fortunate to have Lakhdar Brahimi guest editing this issue of the magazine.
17 October 2016