On Wednesday the Security Council released a presidential statement concerning Syria by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, who is the acting President of the Council this month. The statement calls upon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to implement democratic reforms, demanding a peaceful Syrian-led transformation of government from one that perpetrates crimes against humanity to one that respects and protects fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of expression and assembly.
The statement is the first formal UN document to condemn the violence and gross human rights violations that have occurred in Syria since March. The statement calls for:
- The full respect and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms;
- Humanitarian workers to have access to the Syrian people;
- The full cooperation of the Assad regime with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;
- Calls upon the UN Secretary General to provide a report to the Council in seven days with an update on government actions in Syria.
This is an important first step towards substantive UN action in Syria and comes after months of pressure from the international community.