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HNC could withdraw its delegation in the midst of continued failure by the UN

Date Posted: 30 January 2016

On the eve of the Commission’s meeting with UN Special Envoy to Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura on Sunday 31st January 2016, Dr. Riad Hijab confirmed that so far the cooperation demonstrated by the Committee comes integrally as part and parcel of guarantees and written pledges received from a number of international parties for the implementation of Articles 12 and 13 of UNSCR 2254 with regard to improving the humanitarian situation in Syria through lifting the siege, releasing detainees, and the immediate cessation of indiscriminate shelling of civilians.  Additionally, the pledges that have been conveyed to the Commission and attributed to the UN Secretary General, as well as Mr. de Mistura’s written confirmation stressed the fact that the humanitarian issue is a fundamental, natural right of the Syrian people, which is non-negotiable and not to be determined by the regime’s political manoeuvring or wishes.

Dr. Hijab stressed that the presence of the HNC delegation in Geneva is for the sole purpose of improving the humanitarian situation.  Negotiations need to be launched following these humanitarian guarantees, and on the basis of UN resolutions stipulating the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.

Furthermore, Dr. Hijab pointed that in light of the regime and its allies’ persistent war crimes against civilians - most recently, the death of 16 civilians in Madaya as a result of the continued siege and consequent malnutrition, as well as the intensified bombing of civilian areas in Moadamiya (where more than 40 explosive barrels were indiscriminately used), in addition to Idlib and Aleppo, and the shelling of those internally displaced in Obien refugee camp, it is abundantly clear that the regime continues to undermine international efforts to improve the humanitarian situation.

Finally, Dr. Hijab noted:  “if the regime feels it can persist in its crimes against civilians, it is pointless for the HNC delegation to remain in Geneva; Mr. de Mistura will be notified of the HNC’s intention to withdraw its delegation in the midst of continued failure by the UN and international powers to prevent such violations.”