Thank you Mr. President,
First and foremost, my delegation wishes to express its utmost appreciation to the Secretary General for his monthly report to the Council on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191.
2. We also thank the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Baroness Valerie Amos for her briefing to the Council on the humanitarian situation and implementation of the aforementioned Security Council resolutions regarding humanitarian assistance and access into Syria.
3. We further thank the High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Antonio Gutteres for his updates to the Council on the situation of Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries.
4. Entering its fourth year, we see no signs of the Syrian conflict abating. The on-the-ground situation has in fact deteriorated. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the indiscriminate attacks by both government and armed opposition forces. The senseless conflict has only caused countless deaths and injuries, untold suffering and misery to the Syrian people and destruction to Syria.
5. Malaysia remains deeply concerned at the dire and continued deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. At the beginning of the conflict, 1 million Syrians required humanitarian assistance. Today, 12.2 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance, 7.6 million people are internally displaced and more than 3.8 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries. And yet, the parties to the conflict keep upping the ante in their desperate attempt to defeat the other, seemingly oblivious to the gruesome toll of death, mayhem and destruction that they inflict onto the Syrian people and the very country that they claim to be fighting for.
6. We commend the UN humanitarian agencies and its partners for their commitment and dedication to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, despite facing numerous challenges such as physical danger, administrative obstacles, lack of agreement with armed actors and inaccessibility into hard-to-reach and besieged areas.
7. While we commend the cooperation by the parties to the conflict in facilitating and allowing humanitarian access to reach those in need, we are concerned that administrative and bureaucratic hurdles, such as delays in responding to requests for humanitarian access and restrictions on the provision of surgical and other medical supplies, remain in place. These obstacles are definitely not helpful towards the international community’s efforts to alleviate the already worsening humanitarian situation and ease the suffering of the Syrian people on the ground.
8. We unequivocally condemn the attacks on UN and humanitarian personnel. We reiterate our call on the parties to the conflict to respect international law and international humanitarian law by allowing humanitarian access and ensuring the safety of humanitarian personnel and convoys. We call on the Syrian government to further facilitate the movement of humanitarian supplies, especially to the hard-to-reach areas. There must be a commitment by all parties to the conflict to implement Security Council resolutions 2139 and 2165. They must not be allowed to subvert the objectives of the said resolutions.
9. We commend the State of Kuwait for hosting the 3rd International Humanitarian Pledging Conference that will be held on 31 March 2015. To help ease the suffering of the Syrian people, the Government of Malaysia, among its other initiatives, had pledged USD500,000 at the 2nd Pledging Conference held in 2014. To demonstrate our solidarity with the Syrian people, Malaysia looks forward to its participation at the 3rd Conference. We are hopeful that the Conference could help meet some of the funding gaps of the 2015 Syria Response Plan.
10. We thank the Independent Commission of Inquiry for the recent release of its 9th report. We value the work of the Commission in bringing to our attention the human rights situation in Syria. We are deeply appalled at the continued human rights and international humanitarian law violations and atrocities perpetrated by all sides to the conflict in Syria. In this regard, we are appreciative of the “victims-oriented approach” that they have adopted in investigating reports or allegations of human rights abuses and violations in Syria. We however regret that the Commission, until today, has not been able to enter the country to enable it to fulfil its mandate more effectively.
11. ISIL’s inhumane atrocities and reign of terror in the areas under its control has worsened the already grave human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria. Malaysia strongly condemns the recent killing and abduction of more than one hundred Assyrians by ISIL on 23 February 2015 in northeast Syria. Such atrocities once again demonstrate the brutality, intolerance and extremist ideology of ISIL against people of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities. Malaysia strongly holds the view that the perpetrators of all grave violations, atrocities and impunity cannot go unpunished and must be brought to justice to be held accountable.
12. Malaysia is supportive of the efforts by Mr. Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Syria to seek a comprehensive political solution for the Syrian crisis based on the Geneva Communiqué. Malaysia, in this regard, welcomes the Aleppo “freeze” proposal. We applaud Mr. de Mistura’s continued efforts with the relevant parties regarding the proposed “freeze” arrangements. We are extremely hopeful that the parties to the conflict would ensure the operationalisation of the Aleppo “freeze” proposal.
13. Nevertheless, we are of the view that the Aleppo freeze plan, or any variations thereof, should not be exploited by the conflicting sides to gain a strategic advantage in Aleppo or elsewhere. The conflicting parties should view this as a confidence-building measure to facilitate humanitarian operations, and also as an opportunity to restart dialogue and a political process.
14. Malaysia reiterates its view that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict. Malaysia firmly believes that the future of Syria should be determined by the Syrian people themselves, through a Syrian-led political process. The international community should continue to support, promote, encourage and facilitate an inclusive political transitional process and to continue efforts to foster national reconciliation in Syria. Malaysia, in this regard, welcomes and supports all diplomatic initiatives, such as the Moscow and Cairo initiatives, to try to restart political dialogue between the conflicting parties. We further call on parties with influence to continue their efforts to encourage the conflicting parties to seek a political and peaceful resolution.
15. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that there must be a willingness on the part of the parties to the conflict themselves to find a political solution to the conflict. The international community can only do so much. The international community’s efforts would be in vain and meaningless without the conscious efforts and sincerity of the parties to end the conflict and seek a peaceful and political solution.
Thank you Mr. President