Friday, 27 September 2013

This 'triumph' of UN diplomacy is an abdication of the Responsibility to Protect

The agreement of the permanent members of the UN Security Council on a draft resolution for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is a welcome yet inadequate response to the crisis. 

Any jubilation at the avoidance of military intervention should be tempered by the reflection that the Council has for two years remained deafeningly silent as the Assad regime suppressed legitimate demands for political reform, then committed what the UN Secretary General described as "many crimes against humanity", resulting in the deaths of over 100,000 people and what the UNHCR have described as "the worst humanitarian crisis we've seen in at least two decades".  [see reference to UNHCR Head of Communications Melissa Fleming's words on BBC Radio 4 here].

Its belated action perpetuates the rule of President Assad, undermines the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, shows that the West will not intervene even when its own red lines are crossed, indicates to other nefarious regimes that the use of chemical weapons goes unpunished and most importantly of all, completely fails uphold the human rights of Syria's civilians. This is not a triumph of diplomacy, but rather is the abdication of the Responsibility to Protect.

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For an excellent analysis of the dire implications of the draft UN Security Council resolution on Syrian WMD please see this from Alex Thomson, Chief Correspondent at Channel 4 News.

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