Syria: Security Council authorizes deployment of advance military observer team

Security Council in session. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

14 April 2012 – The Security Council today authorized the sending of an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence, pending the deployment of a United Nations supervision mission that will be tasked with monitoring the ceasefire.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council called on all parties to guarantee the safety of the advance team and ensure its freedom of movement and access, stressing that the primary responsibility for carrying out those requirements lay with the Syrian authorities.

The 15-member UN body also requested the Secretary-General to immediately report to the Council any obstructions to the work of team by any party.

The Council took note of the assessment of the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, that as of 12 April, the Syrian parties appeared to be observing a cessation of violence, and that the Syrian Government had started to implement its commitments.

The Government also appeared to be supporting Mr. Annan's call for an immediate and visible implementation of all elements of his six-point proposal in their entirety to achieve a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.

Mr. Annan's six-point proposal calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, and the start of inclusive political dialogue that takes into account the aspirations of the Syrian people.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands of people.

Member of the Council condemned the widespread violation of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any other human rights abuses committed by armed groups, stressing that those responsible shall be held accountable. They expressed profound regret over the death thousands of people.

The Council reiterated its call to Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all those in need of help, in accordance with international law and the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.

It also urged all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the UN and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the delivery of relief.

The Council requested the Secretary-General to report to it on the implementation of today's resolution by 19 April, and expressed its intention to assess the implementation and “to consider further steps as appropriate.”

Member of the Council expressed their intention to establish immediately, after consultations between the Secretary-General and the Syrian Government, a UN supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence by all parties.

The supervision mission will be authorized on the basis of a formal proposal from the Secretary-General, which the Security Council requested to receive not later than 18 April.

The Council called on the Syrian authorities to ensure that the supervision mission received the support it needed to deploy its personnel and required assets, including unimpeded and immediate freedom of movement; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing it to freely communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with the mission.

In Geneva, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Security Council's resolution, voicing his gratitude for the strong political support of the Council.

“I have had an in-depth discussion with Joint Special Envoy Mr. Kofi Annan on the way forward, how we can help this cessation of violence continue without any break,” Mr. Ban told reporters.

“It is important at this time that the whole international community, in accordance with Security Council Resolution, do all what we can in one voice to help this cessation of violence continue,” he said. He stressed that the political negotiations in Syria should be inclusive.

Mr. Ban said that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, will convene a Syrian humanitarian forum on 20 April in Geneva to mobilize the resources required to fund humanitarian operations for the estimated one million affected by the crisis, including the tens of thousands of refugees who have entered Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

He said the supervision mission, once authorized, will comprise about 250 members. “I know that it is a very big country so we will try to have a very effective way of monitoring the situation there,” he said.

Earlier in Geneva, Mr. Annan briefed the Secretary-General on his contacts with the Syrian Government, the opposition, and representatives of countries that have influence in Syria.

They also discussed the status of the cessation of violence, including reports of sporadic violence and the continued presence of the Syrian Armed Forces in population areas.

Mr. Ban reiterated that it is the Government of Syria that has the primary responsibility to stop the violence and withdraw its troops from civilian areas.

The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, also welcomed the unanimous adoption of Security Council Resolution 2042 on Syrian, stressing that the Government of Syria has the primary responsibility to fully and urgently implement Mr. Annan's six-point plan.

He said he was encouraged by the unanimous adoption of the resolution, noting that it reflected the Council's and international community's unity in trying to resolve the crisis in Syria.


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