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Human Rights Council holds high-level dialogue on the promotion of preventive approaches within the United Nations System

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON

4 March 2014

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a high-level dialogue dedicated to promoting preventive approaches within the United Nations system. 
 
Delivering a statement on behalf of Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that protecting human rights could help prevent armed conflict and mass atrocities.  She outlined a variety of preventive approaches employed by the Office, including early warning on human rights violations, advocacy for the ratification of treaties and support to national human rights mechanisms.  She stressed that preventive measures required creativity, energy and political leadership, and although they were sometimes hard to measure in terms of impact and efficacy, they saved money and lives.    
 
Participating in the discussion as panellists were Michael Møller, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Wilder Taylor-Santo, Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists; and Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund.  Paola Gaeta, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Geneva and Adjunct Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, moderated the discussion.
 
Introducing the panel discussion, Ms. Gaeta said that it would focus on the preventive actions taking place within the United Nations system and seek to understand how synergies between mechanisms to prevent serious and more general human rights violations could be strengthened. 
 
Mr. Møller said that there could be no doubt that human rights violations were at the root of many of today’s conflicts and that huge challenges remained in the prevention engagement of the United Nations.  Prevention was a human rights imperative and what was needed above all was a change in mindset, and a fundamental change in culture, bringing together all relevant actors.
 
Mr. Dieng said history had shown that atrocities and crimes were processes rather than singular events and that they did not happen overnight but started with hate speeches, serious discrimination and marginalization of victims.  His Office had been researching for years the precursors to crimes of genocide and atrocities and had developed tools that could be used by States for early warning purposes. 
 
Ms. Kang, speaking on the role of the humanitarian community in preventing human rights violations and the related challenges, said that humanitarian action was also about protecting people from further harm and that key to this endeavour was to understand the needs of vulnerable groups and how they were impacted by the crises.  States were the ultimate duty bearers and their non-compliance in humanitarian crises translated in lost lives.
 
Mr. Taylor-Santo stressed the importance of independent mechanisms for the prevention of torture which provided for a continuous presence on the ground.  A preventive approach needed to be firmly integrated into a wider protection strategy and required a strong cooperative element with continuous dialogue and exchanges of experiences.  Mr. Taylor-Santo stressed that often a resolute policy against impunity was the most effective or preventive.
 
Ms. Albrectsen said that reproductive rights for women were fundamental and central to human rights and added that the United Nations Population Fund worked on collecting data on human rights violations, education and participation in decision processes, lifted barriers to access to health services for women and girls, and worked extensively with local communities to end practices that were harmful to women and girls. 
 
In the ensuing discussion, Member States said that unless the Council moved from reaction to prevention, changes would not take place on the ground.  The Council had all the tools at its disposal to make prevention a reality and to contribute to a more cooperative international framework for addressing human rights problems at an early stage, including ensuring that genocide would never take place again.  The United Nations treaty body system provided an opportunity for States to scrutinise their systems and identify deficiencies, while the Universal Periodic Review had proven to be an important platform for States to engage cooperatively and address shortcomings.  With the “Rights Up Front” initiative, the United Nations had demonstrated its commitment to the preventive agenda and the challenge was now to make it work in practice across the system.
 
Speaking in the discussion were the following Council members: the Maldives, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Morocco (on behalf of the French speaking countries), Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Sierra Leone, Russia (on behalf of a Like-Minded Group of countries), the European Union, Ethiopia (on behalf of the African Group), Uruguay (on behalf of group of countries), Australia, United States, Switzerland, France, China, Turkey, Montenegro, Indonesia, Norway, Austria, Egypt, India and Brazil. International Committee of the Red Cross also took the floor.
 
Speaking in right of reply were Indonesia, Syria, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia.
 
The Human Rights Council will hold a full day meeting on Wednesday, 5 March.  It will start at 9 a.m. with a continuation of the High-level Segment.
 
Opening Statement by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
 
FLAVIA PANSIERI, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivering a statement on behalf of High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, said prevention lay at the heart of the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.  Protecting human rights could help prevent armed conflict and mass atrocities.  Deterioration in respect for human rights could serve as a telling sign of impending crisis.  Success in promoting and protecting rights and ensuring accountability for human rights violations could offer effective means to de-escalate conflict and forestall the human and financial cost of humanitarian crises.  Once conflicts erupted, the imperative was to use all practical means to protect civilians.  At those times, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights was critical.  The Secretary-General had made prevention one of his top priorities, set out in his Five-Year Action Agenda for 2012 to 2017.  The duty of States to take legislative, administrative and other appropriate measures to prevent human rights violations was established in law, but the persistence of human rights violations demonstrated that much work still had to be done.
 
Assistance was at hand and United Nations entities were working harder to strengthen the preventive dimension of their human rights activities in cooperation and constructive engagements with States.  Six action points had been highlighted to that end in the “Rights Up Front” initiative.  The Office of the High Commissioner implemented a variety of preventive approaches, including early warning about possible violations, advocacy for the ratification of treaties, and support to national human rights mechanisms.  Field offices in 58 countries offered technical assistance to States to build and enhance effective national protection systems.  The Office also advised States on the design and implementation of anti-discrimination laws and policies, thematic strategies, action plans and democratic institution building; and practical tools had been developed.  Preventive measures required creativity, energy and political leadership.  They were sometimes hard to measure in terms of impact and efficacy, but they saved money and lives.   
 
Statement by the Moderator
 
PAOLA GAETA, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, Adjunct Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Moderator, said a very crucial issue was being discussed today: that of preventive actions taking place within the United Nations system and how synergies between mechanisms could be strengthened to prevent serious and general human rights violations.  Prevention was better than cure.  The necessity of strengthening preventative approaches had a solid international framework in the field of human rights.  States were obliged by the United Nations Convention on Genocide to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent genocide.  There was also a need to insist on education as a necessary vehicle for the promotion of human rights.  The panellists would share their experiences within their respective mandates. 
 
Statements by the Panellists
 
MICHAEL MØLLER, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that it went without saying that prevention was at the core of the work of the United Nations: it could not be stated more clearly than in the preamble of the United Nations Charter.  All too often, they found themselves in a reactive rather than pre-active mode.  Mr. Møller said he personally had been engaged in pushing the prevention agenda within the United Nations system for many years.  While it was not an easy task, much progress had been seen.  The United Nations needed to get much better at using the tools it had and communicating successes and failures.  There could be no doubt that human rights violations were at the root of many of today’s conflicts.  Since taking office, the Secretary-General had refocused the United Nations efforts on prevention.
 
The Organization’s conflict prevention engagements were more field oriented, flexible and fast.  Yet, huge challenges were still faced, increasingly threats crossed borders and oceans.  Prevention was a human rights imperative.  The United Nations toolbox for prevention had also expanded.  The number and complexity of political missions had grown significantly.  Special envoys were rapidly deployed to de-escalate tensions.  More and stronger partnerships were being built with sub-regional and regional organizations.  While progress had been made, the failures were shameful.  They could not congratulate themselves or allow themselves to be complacent.  The ultimate goal was to effectively link the pillars of security, development and human rights.  Above all a change in mind-set was needed, and a fundamental change in culture, bringing together all relevant actors. 
 
ADAMA DIENG, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said that the core objective of his mandate was inherently preventive, and his office acted as an early warning system that brought human rights situations and human rights violations that might escalate into genocide to the attention of the Secretary-General.  The aim was a move from a reactive approach to a preventive one, and to implement the responsibility to protect.  More could be done to protect human lives.  History had shown that atrocities and crimes were processes rather than singular events, they had not happened overnight but started with hate speeches, serious discrimination and marginalization of victims.  The Special Advisor said his office had been researching for years the precursors to crimes of genocide and other atrocities, and had developed tools that could be used by States for early warning purposes. 
 
The Office of the Special Advisor also had a mandate to build the capacity of the United Nations system to prevent genocide.  The Special Adviser emphasized that prevention was much more cost-effective than response, and that once atrocities started, many doors for action closed.  Sometimes it was difficult to demonstrate the added value of prevention; conflict prevention and genocide or atrocity preventions were not synonymous because genocide and atrocities did not happen in all armed conflicts.  No State could consider itself immune from atrocity crimes.  There was a challenge in getting the message across that atrocities could happen anywhere.  The key challenge was education and how to equip the youth with knowledge and tools to prevent genocide and atrocity crimes.
 
KYUNG-WHA KANG, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, responding to the moderator’s question about the role of the humanitarian community in preventing human rights violations and the related challenges, said that humanitarian action was not only about response to humanitarian crises but was also about protecting people from further harm and further human rights violations.  Understanding the needs of vulnerable groups and designing responses that ensured they were protected from further harm was key to that endeavour.  Monitoring the provision of assistance and engagement with affected communities was necessary to understand the impact of the crises on specific groups and design response accordingly.  It was a work in progress, and providing accountability to affected populations was a pillar of the reform of the humanitarian system and had added a new vigour to the matter. 
 
Protection needed to be central to all aspects of humanitarian action and was defined as all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for rights of individuals in accordance with the provisions of international law.  Humanitarian actors, both national and international, had significant field presence and could keep international actors abreast of human rights violations and humanitarian situations.  Ultimately, States were duty bearers and full respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law was instrumental to ensuring protection of disaster-affected populations.  It was disappointing to see those provisions flagrantly violated in the conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere.  The fundamental challenge was non-compliance of the duty bearers; in humanitarian crises that translated into lives lost. 
 
WILDER TAYLER-SANTO, Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, said that the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Torture created a system of preventive visits to places of detention by both the experts of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and by national preventive mechanisms.   States parties agreed to allow the experts of the Subcommittee or national mechanisms unhindered access to all places where persons may be deprived of liberty.  The most innovative feature of the Optional Protocol was that States parties undertook to designate, create or maintain independent mechanisms for the prevention of torture at the national level, which mirrored the functions of the Subcommittee but which enjoyed significant advantages: the national mechanisms provided for a continuous presence dedicated to torture prevention on the ground, based on an international agreement, as well as other important features, such as closeness to both government and civil society, facilitating dialogue and building trust.
 
The national preventive mechanisms and the Subcommittee were designed to work in a complementary and coordinated manner and, while setting up the system would take time, positive results were expected in the medium term.  Concerning lessons learned, Mr. Tayler-Santo said these were linked to the challenges encountered due to the complexity of the prevention system, including, among others, the need for changes in law, administration and political will; the potential contribution of an international body such as the Subcommittee to promoting collaboration and a solid network of national preventive bodies; that prevention work required a comprehensive effort at all levels of State and society; and the need for a commensurate financial investment.  In order to succeed, a preventive approach needed to be firmly integrated into a wider protection strategy.  Prevention also required a strong cooperative element with continuous dialogue and exchanges of experiences.  Much could be achieved by applying preventive techniques to other violations, in the arsenal of protection, there was often nothing more effective or preventive than a resolute policy against impunity.
 
ANNE-BIRGITTE ALBRECTSEN, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, spoke about the widespread problems of children and early marriage, early pregnancy, and female genital mutilation.  The International Conference on Population and Development’s Platform of Action had just launched its latest review which showed continued inequality and discrimination against women and girls.  Reproductive rights for women were fundamental and central to human rights.  In order to prevent human rights violations, the United Nations Population Fund promoted measurement and data collection on human rights violations, together with education and participation in decision-making processes.  The United Nations Population Fund worked to lift barriers on access to health services for women and girls and worked extensively with local communities, in order to end harmful practices affecting women and girls. 
 
Interactive Discussion
 
Maldives said that unless the Council moved from reaction to prevention, changes would not take place on the ground; conditions that promoted human rights abuses should be removed and an enabling environment should be established through concrete measures to reduce risk, including long-term measures such as the promotion of democracy and education.  Namibia said that the United Nations treaty body system provided an opportunity for States to scrutinise their systems and identify deficiencies, and the Universal Periodic Review had proven to be an important platform for States to engage cooperatively and address shortcomings.  Namibia believed that the review served like a preventive mechanism itself.  Burkina Faso emphasised the importance of knowledge of human rights as a form of prevention and said that strengthening early response mechanisms should be a priority, emphasising the need for international cooperation and technical assistance.  Morocco, speaking on behalf of the Groupe des Pay Francophone, said that the adoption of preventive approaches was more necessary than ever and that specific actions to combat impunity and human rights education were also important; civil society and other stakeholders also had an important role to play. 
 
Poland said that the prevention of violations lay at the heart of the mission of the United Nations system, which was set up with prevention as one of its key tasks, and the Council played an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights; the Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review constituted an important part of the United Nations prevention system and sharing best practices was crucial to identify gaps and priorities.  The panel constituted an opportunity for a cultural shift from a reactive to a preventive approach to human rights in the United Nations system and Hungary believed that the Council had all the tools at its disposal to make prevention a reality and to contribute to a more cooperative international framework for addressing human rights problems at an early stage, including ensuring that genocide would never take place again.  Denmark said that with “Rights Up Front”, the United Nations demonstrated its commitment to the preventive agenda and that the challenge was now to make it work in practice across the system, a preventive approach was also at the heart of questions concerning the “Responsibility to Protect”.
 
Sierra Lone stressed the importance of prevention in mitigating human rights violations which constituted one of the main causes of conflicts in Africa.  Sierra Leone was undergoing a constitutional review process to address the protection of rights more comprehensively.  Russian Federation, speaking on behalf of a group of like-minded countries, said that protection and prevention involved more than monitoring and sharing, resources and long-term efforts were necessary.  The international community should support the efforts of national governments to protect human rights and prevention should not entail any form of intervention.  Preventive approaches should be state-driven and have a clear agenda, as well as part of the key guiding principles.  European Union indicated the growing consensus about the importance of prevention and avoiding mass atrocities wherever they may occur; the necessary political will across the international community was necessary to overcome the current focus on a reactive approach.  Timely assistance to governments in need and the contribution of Special Procedures and treaty bodies in the provision of technical assistance for the implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations were also necessary.  Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that sustainable development and poverty alleviation should be part of a preventive approach, and development cooperation should respect national policies and the sovereignty of States.  Uruguay, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that the United Nations had to focus on reaction and that the Council and the human rights system bore special responsibility and were in a good position to give first signals of early warning and to contribute with technical recommendations for the development of capacities.  
 
CHARLOTTE WARAKAULLE, speaking on behalf of MICHAEL MOLLER, Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, underlined in response to questions raised by the European Union the importance of strengthening the regional dimension in preventing conflicts.  She also underlined the role of the United Nations presence on the ground and the importance of early prevention, through the identification of trends that fuelled tensions between communities. 
 
KYUNG-WHA KANG, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, welcomed the landmark resolution on the strengthening of the treaty body system and congratulated all those who had taken part in this process.  Treaty bodies, she said, did have an important preventive role. 
 
ADAMA DIENG, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said the “Rights Up Front” initiative was one of the latest measures launched by the Secretary-General to increase the prevention of human rights violations and atrocity crimes.  They hoped each Member State would strongly support this initiative because it was simply a renewal of the commitment to not allow those situations to occur so that the spirit and the letter of the United Nations Charter was respected.  Saying that they did not know should not be allowed any longer and should not be used as a cover for inaction.  Inaction had never been a problem of lack of information or knowledge, but a problem of lack of will to suppress genocide by decision-makers who weighed costs.  The best preventative measure was that everyone took their responsibilities seriously.
 
WILDER TAYLOR-SANTO, Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, said that the idea of a general study on prevention in the United Nations was a good one and should focus not only on gaps in practice but also gaps in law.  Torture as a human rights violation was always connected to violations of other rights and there was significant need to identify legal gaps.
 
ANNE-BIRGITTE ALBRECTSEN, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund, said that it was inherent in “Rights Up Front” that better analysis was necessary and eventually this had also been suggested.  A compendium of best practices could be better in this regard.  Concerning the question posed by Sierra Leone about sexual and reproductive rights, Ms. Albrectsen said that all United Nations development programmes on the ground were planned on the basis of development priorities.  Concerning the post-2015 development agenda, the best way to promote it was through participatory processes.  Once Member States developed this agenda, the United Nations would have to find ways to contribute to helping countries achieve development goals. 
 
KYUNG-WHA KANG, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in response to a question raised by Sierra Leone, said that there had to be greater investment in natural disaster preparedness, as well as making sure that vulnerable communities were not left behind in the post-2015 development agenda. 
 
Australia said that the “Rights Up Front” initiative was a valuable preventative approach and was pleased that the Secretary-General had made the responsibility to protect a priority for his next term.  United States was particularly concerned with atrocity prevention and was implementing a whole-of-government approach which focused on collection, analysis and dissemination of key indicators, and the decision to act before the situation escalated.  What role could Member States and civil society play to enhance the United Nations’ work on prevention and enhance the goals of the “Rights Up Front” initiative?  Switzerland believed that prevention was the best way of dealing with armed conflict; it reduced loss of human lives and destruction of property, while human rights violations were often early warning of impending violence and conflict.  France said that the international community had the obligation to protect populations from genocide and atrocities if States concerned were unable to do so and stressed that if prevention was not working in matters concerning international peace and security, the possibility of coercive measures should not be discarded.  China stressed that the discussion on prevention must respect the sovereignty of States and must highlight constructive cooperation; technical assistance and cooperation must be the main direction of prevention.  Turkey spoke about the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative which had over 100 States as members and had been created to bring different cultures and faiths together; now it was seen as the main mediation platform for its members.  Montenegro stressed cooperation between States and inclusion of civil society in efforts to prevent human rights violations and the value of early warning systems therein.
 
Indonesia said that all United Nations work was about prevention and as in the case of disease, prevention indicated a healthy life, and a preventive approach should be placed in the broader perspective of the United Nations system and staying true to the mandates.  Norway said that some information and analysis was important to understanding causes and dynamics and prompting a vibrant civil society and its interaction with the United Nations was an important investment, asking the panellists how could Member States help to move the “Rights Up Front” initiative forward?  Austria said that failing to act early in response to developments or atrocities could have disastrous consequences and would reverberate for generations; prevention entailed national and international responsibilities and while garnering political support could be difficult, different ways to mobilise collective will amid crises should be explored.  Egypt stressed the responsibility of States to ensure the protection on rights and to take measures to fulfil their international obligations.  Preventive approaches should assist States and should not result in conditionality.  India hoped that the dialogue would contribute to collaborative efforts as part of the work of the Council.  The primary responsibility for the protection of rights lay with States and it was of utmost importance that sovereignty was respected and prescriptive or intrusive approaches were not pursued.  India also asked about the role of information management in preventive approaches.  Brazil said that it was necessary to strengthen the system geared towards prevention that addressed the root causes and, if applied timely, was less costly; democracy, development and respect for rights and freedoms were mutually reinforcing, a preventive approach to human rights should recognise the interlinkages between peace, security and sustainable development. 
 
International Committee of the Red Cross said prevention was derived from the obligations of the Geneva Conventions to integrate measures in domestic policies and ensure an environment conducive to the respect for the life and dignity of persons affected by armed conflict.  Spreading knowledge about rules was not enough but they should be transformed into appropriate behaviour.
 
KYUNG-WHA KANG, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, on the question of how the “Rights Up Front” initiative could be enhanced, underlined the role of civil society and United Nations mechanisms in telling Member States what they needed to hear in order to prevent or stop human rights violations.
 
ADAMA DIENG, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said that although State sovereignty should be protected, it should not be used to protect or justify situations of gross human rights violations or genocide.  He recalled that States had the primary responsibility to implement their international commitments. 
 
WILDER TAYLER-SANTO, Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Secretary, on the question of how to implement the “Rights Up Front” initiative with limited resources, said that the prevention of conflicts was in any case a good investment compared to having to deal with the damages. 
 
ANNE-BIRGITTE ALBRECTSEN, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund, said that resources were a cardinal point and prevention cost money, but also provided value for money because it saved lives.  One aspect to touch upon was that of communication and how success and failure in conflict prevention could be disseminated.  There was a need to be honest about what worked and what did not.
 
PAOLA GAETA, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Geneva and Adjunct Professor of International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Moderator, in her closing remarks thanked the panellists and the delegations for their comments and questions.
BAUDELAIRE NDONG ELLA, President of the Human Rights Council, said that this was the end of the panel discussion.
 
Right of Reply
 
Indonesia, speaking in a right of reply, strongly rejected the accusations concerning the issue of the province of Papua and said that the statement was in contradiction with the communiqué issued after the ministerial visit to this province that had taken place in January this year.  Indonesia would not be distracted by such accusations and would continue with its agenda and promotion of friendly relations with the people of the region.
 
Syria, speaking in a right of reply, responded to speakers who had gone beyond diplomatic boundaries and showed contempt for Syria.  Countries that had barely joined civilisation were now lecturing Syria.  Qatar and Saudi Arabia were criticising Syria for supporting terrorism while they themselves were supporting actors issuing fatwas and carrying out acts of violence, and spreading the words of jihadist doctrines and sending fighters to destroy Syria.  Syria had always been a lighthouse, a beacon of civilisation before being invaded by jihadist forces.  The Syrian people would not forget these acts and would hold the perpetrators accountable.  Responding to the statements made by the United Kingdom and the United States, Syria said they should stop taking about democracy since their Governments had been the first ones to violate human rights and spread acts of terrorism around the world.
 
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, rejected allegations made by the United States, Denmark and Estonia earlier today.  Western countries had been leading wars in many parts of the world in the name of counter-terrorism and that had led to countless victims.  Furthermore, the United States was violating not only its citizens’ privacy but also those of its allies, which was a clear violation of human rights.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would continue to promote the rights of its population.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a right of reply, categorically refused the allegations just made by the Syrian regime, which desperately continued unprecedented human rights violations against its population.  All international reports had condemned the Syrian regime and recognised that the scale of human rights violations there, many amounting to crimes against humanity, was unprecedented.  Saudi Arabia would continue its approach of supporting the lives of the Syrian people, including through financial contributions.  Saudi Arabia called for the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.   
 
Syria, speaking in a second right of reply, said that policies against Syria would one day go back to reason and would be reversed.  Some were arrogant enough to say that assistance was being given to the Syrians.  Humanitarian aid was a priority for the Syrians.  The Government of Syria had born 75 per cent of humanitarian assistance to its population.  Where was the funding that was claimed to be provided?  The suffering of Syrians was not a commodity to be traded.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a second right of reply, said that Syria persisted in exposing themselves, using the same lies, attempting to defend a regime that was gone.  The facts were evident and crimes committed by the regime were evident.  The group of Friends of Syria was working around the clock to provide the Syrians with the necessary assistance.  The international community must be strong in facing this regime and in confirming the necessity that it had to abide by a peaceful solution and to put an end to the suffering of Syrians.
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