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The situation in Syria - Statement in the Informal Session of the General Assembly

Thursday, 20 October 2016
Ambassador Juan Carlos Mendoza
New York

Mr. President:

My delegation wishes to thank you for addressing the request from 72 states, led by Canada

and which Costa Rica supported, to convene this urgent meeting. We are also grateful to

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and in particular to Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and John

Ging (OCHA), for providing information that once again confirms the unsustainable

humanitarian crisis affecting the Syrian people.

Mr. President:

The Charter of the United Nations has granted the mandate of sustaining international peace

and security to the Security Council. However, we have witnessed how the Council has not been

able to reach an agreement to address the critical, ongoing humanitarian situation in Syria.

In this sense, we reiterate our concern for the use of veto in cases where we could be in

presence of mass atrocities . The veto power should be voluntarily restricted, just as

proposed by the Code of Conduct promoted by the ACT Group, which Costa Rica has

subscribed, alongside 111 other Member States.


2/ Ref: 015-2016

Mr. President:

In light of the inaction of the Security Council, other States can’t simply stand by and do


The General Assembly, the only UN organ where all Member States are represented, has a

subsidiary responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security, as

established in Article 14 of the Charter.

It is from the floor of this Assembly that Costa Rica makes a fervent call to all parties in the

conflict to work towards an immediate ceasefire. Said ceasefire must guarantee the safe exit of

all people trapped in the conflict zone as well as access to humanitarian aid for everyone that

needs it. The millions of victims cannot wait any longer. Changing the situation on the ground

should be our goal and priority.

Mr. President:

On previous occasions, the General Assembly has been compelled to intervene in order to

maintain international peace and security. My delegation believes that, if the Security Council

does not reach an agreement to immediately address the humanitarian situation in Syria with

the urgency it requires, Member States should immediately call for an emergency session of the

General Assembly, as has been done before in similar situations, such as the occasion when

Member States adopted the resolution “United for Peace”,’ on November 3 rd , 1950 and well as

in others instances.

Mr. President:

Costa Rica is convinced that all sides of the conflict should focus their efforts to securing a

diplomatic solution through resuming dialogue, and that further harm to civilians must be

prevented at all cost. The first step for this must be a ceasefire. Furthermore, the undeniable

aggravation of the situation caused by the involvement of DAESH and al-Nusrah, should be

jointly addressed by all parts to the conflict and by all means available.

3/ Ref: 015-2016

Costa Rica also reiterates its conviction that any permanent solution must promote

accountability for any crimes against humanity that may have been committed, under the

principle that there is no lasting peace without justice.

Mr. President:

UNICEF and UNESCO have stated that there is a generation of lost children in Syria. Special

Envoy de Mistura has informed us that this could become the most severe humanitarian crisis

in history. We have been shaken by the images of children in boats, in refugee camps, and

under debris. The responsibility to act rests on the shoulders of the Security Council and upon

its failure, on the General Assembly. What are we waiting for?

Thank you very much.