Speech by Mike Gapes MP on behalf of the British delegation to the 135th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, Geneva 25 October 2016 on the Emergency Item on 'The war and the severe humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in Aleppo':
In the 1930s the League of Nations failed.
In the 1930s we had the horrific scenes of the bombing of Guernica
Today we have the horrific bombing of Aleppo.
After the Second World War we developed the United Nations organisation and its Security Council.
Yet in the last five years of the civil war in Syria we have seen 280,000 dead, 861,000, just surviving under siege, and more than 11 million forced to leave their homes internally displaced or as refugees.
And in that five years what we have had 5 vetoes at the UN Security Council. The most recent veto by Russia alone was 8 October.
All involved in the civil war are responsible for this situation but the Government of Syria has manifestly failed to uphold the Responsibility to Protect and bears primary responsibility for the ongoing commission of war crimes, Barrel bombing. And air strikes on civilian areas.
But what can we do when the United Nations Security Council fails to Act? If the Security Council is failing to do it's job there is a case for the General Assembly to act under the "uniting for peace" procedure.
And for the International Criminal Court to address the issue of war crimes
We as Parliamentarians must speak out. It is time to end the carnage and the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria which has consequences not just for the people of Syria but for neighbouring countries and the whole world. The people of the world are calling for action now.