MSGR RICHARD GYHRA
CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES OF THE PERMANENT MISSION
OF THE HOLY SEE
AT THE 31st SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Recent developments coming from Syria seem to reinforce the
feeling of helplessness in front of an endless human tragedy caused by the
continuation of the conflict and its procession of refugees, disrespect of human
rights and international humanitarian law. Crimes against humanity are frequent
and unpunished; intentional attacks against the civilian population are daily.
The findings of the International Commission are more than alarming. On the
other hand, some bright spots, in particular the negotiations that started this
week, should push all people of good will not to give up in the search to
minimize this human, humanitarian and political tragedy, and, above all, to
continue to work towards a peaceful and negotiated solution that takes into
account the best interests of Syria and all components of the Syrian nation.
The Holy See, as it was stated by Pope Francis at the Sunday
Angelus Prayer on 28 February, would like to give its support to regional and
international efforts underway to consolidate the recently negotiated ceasefire
accepted by the majority of parties involved in the conflict. Regional and
international contributions are indispensable and they should be thoroughly
devoted to the interests of the Syrian people. Any approach attempting to defend
in the first place regional or international interests, using the different
parties to the conflict without considering the future of the country and
without taking into account the unbearable human suffering, are unethical. These
would not meet the requirements for peace and stability in Syria and in the
region. Any policy that ignores the true interests of Syria will be
counterproductive, prolong the conflict with its miseries and will have serious
consequences for the region and the world.
In the process of reconciliation and peace-building the
inclusion of all parties is necessary. All parties involved in the conflict and
the International community have a role to play. They are called to look at the
long-term interests of the entire region and primarily the real interests of
Syria. Obviously the war and the instability do not favour any player but impact
negatively all countries involved, directly or indirectly, in this ongoing
conflict. The United Nations, in the first place, has an encouraging and
facilitating role. Any solution must be based on the rule of law, justice,
freedom and respect for human rights. Donor countries also have an interest in
investing in peace and reconstruction. Indeed, the continuation of the conflict
is a blatant failure of all stakeholders and will only bring grief and
instability for all.
A crucial dimension for reaching a sustainable solution in
the peace-building process is respect for a pluralistic society where ethnic,
linguistic or religious minorities have their place as full members of society
and the Syrian State. The survival and the well-being of the aforesaid
minorities is the guarantee of a democratic State, respectful of differences. In
fact, the recognition of their rights does not weaken in any way the State, on
the contrary, it enriches and strengthens it. In this sense, the return of
refugees and idps is an essential
condition for reconciliation, reconstruction and sustainability of any solution
of the conflict.
As the Holy See has previously stated it is urgent to begin
immediately the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the population in need
and to remove all obstacles so that humanitarian organizations can have access
to all areas. Without the protection of civilians and their human rights there
cannot be a just political solution. Special care should be given to the weakest
groups of society.
In conclusion, I would like to recall what Pope Francis
recently stated: “I have received with hope the news of the cessation of
hostilities in Syria, and I invite everyone to pray that this break may bring
relief to the suffering population and open the path to dialogue and to the
peace that is so desired” (Angelus, 28 February 2016).
Thank you, Mr. President.