Netherlands to sound alarm on Syria in UN Security Council

On Tuesday Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok, as UN Security Council President, will sound the alarm on the situation in Syria. According to Mr Blok, ‘In the horrific conflict in Syria all humanity seems lost. It is a conflict in which the international community has failed to meet the most fundamental humanitarian standard: the protection of innocent civilians.’ On Tuesday it will be one month since the Security Council adopted a resolution on a ceasefire in Syria. It is now seven years since the war in Syria began.

The crisis in Syria will be the main theme of Mr Blok’s first visit to the UN Security Council, in the month in which the Netherlands holds the Council Presidency. One issue on the agenda will be the follow up to Security Council resolution 2401 on the ceasefire in Syria. ‘The international community is divided on this crisis,’ said the minister. ‘Parties are not sticking to the agreement. And it’s innocent civilians who are the victims.’

Children

‘That includes children,’ he added. During Mr Blok’s visit, the UN will host an exhibition of portraits by Dutch photographer Chris de Bode. Working in association with Save the Children, De Bode photographed 48 Syrian children who, like the war itself, are now seven years old. ‘Despite the divisions in the Security Council, everyone should be able to agree that children shouldn’t be the victims of war,’ Mr Blok said. ‘The children born since the conflict began have never known peace. I want to call on all parties to respect the ceasefire agreement and immediately provide unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to the people of Syria. People like the children in these photos.’

Somalia and Democratic Republic Congo

On Tuesday Mr Blok will also preside over a vote on the extension of the UN’s missions in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In this region, too, the Netherlands has been pressing for more focus on the humanitarian aspect of the conflict. ‘A united international community could play a vital role in both preventing and ending conflicts,’ the minister said. ‘We’re demonstrating that in Somalia and the DRC. Now we need to do the same in Syria.’