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12 Feb 2016
Statement by the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect on the situation of civilians in the Syrian Arab Republic

On 12 February the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh, expressed alarm at the deepening humanitarian emergency and lack of protection of civilian populations in Syria, and welcomed the commitment made on 11-12 February by members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to immediately facilitate the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

The Special Advisers said: "We are at a turning point. The measures identified by the ISSG are critical in order to alleviate the suffering of the civilian populations and ensure their protection. The attacks against Syrian civilians over the last five years, in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is now time to restore their dignity and the protection they are entitled to under international law."

The Special Advisers urged States not to fail the Syrian populations yet again and to uphold their commitment to protect populations from war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. "The protection of the populations of Syria is the primary responsibility of the Syrian state. However, in face of the state's abject failure to do so, the international community has the responsibility to take timely and decisive measures to protect populations in Syria."