Vienna, 29 February 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “Humanitarian disaster in Syria aggravating by the day”

Austria was one of the countries to table a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council

Vienna, 29 February 2012 – An urgent debate on the situation in Syria was held in Geneva today within the framework of the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The massive violations of human rights committed by the Syrian regime were once again roundly condemned. “Humanitarian organizations must immediately be granted full access to the affected areas, otherwise the humanitarian disaster in Syria will aggravate even further”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said. Austria is one of the countries that submitted a resolution today demanding an immediate stop to violence and full access for humanitarian organisations.

Spindelegger continued: “Syria is being watched by the world. The severe violations of human rights committed by the Syrian regime will not continue to go unpunished. Austria has been successful in making this clear in the resolution: The perpetrators must be held accountable!”

On 22 February, the international commission of inquiry published its latest report, which triggered the next step by the Human Rights Council. “The UN Human Rights Council’s expression of support for the Syrian people is a powerful signal. However, it is also high time that the UN Security Council stands by its responsibility and overcomes its current state of paralysis”, Spindelegger said.

Austria places high hopes in Kofi Annan, the newly appointed special envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States. The Foreign Minister is convinced that “the former UN Secretary General has the ethical authority and independence it needs to make himself heard by all the parties concerned, and especially by the Syrian regime.”

Austria – represented by State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner – was also an active contributor to the “Friends of Syria” conference organised by Tunisia on Friday, 24 February. The conference dealt with the humanitarian situation in Syria and Austria announced at the conference that 250,000 euros will be made available for humanitarian aid in Syria via the United Nations.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213