Civil Society Appeal for Greater UN Leadership on Syria Ceasefire
37 Syrian Civil Society Organizations Urge UN Secretary-General Guterres to Monitor and Enforce Syrian Ceasefire

[14 February 2017] Amid rising ceasefire violations, Syrian civil society are calling on the United Nations Secretary-General to lead an impartial Syrian ceasefire monitoring mechanism that will pave the way for a credible political process in Geneva. 

In a 13 February letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, 37 Syrian civil society organizations and humanitarian aid groups demanded UN-led monitoring of the ceasefire, with impartial observers on the ground. 

“Only the United Nations has the credibility needed to impartially and accurately monitor our nation’s ceasefire. Both Russia and Iran are clear parties to the conflict and can neither monitor nor enforce the ceasefire with any credibility. If Syria’s ceasefire is to hold and thereby serve as the basis for credible political negotiations in Geneva, then it is the United Nations that must lead an independent monitoring mechanism.”

“We Syrians know that if we are to see a peaceful end to the Syrian crisis, we need your leadership in securing a sustainable ceasefire and a credible political process leading to a democratic Syria. We cannot allow parties to the conflict to fill the vacuum and steer us away from a Syrian-led solution to the Syrian crisis.”

The 37 Syrian civil society organizations call on the United Nations to:

  • Lead a credible monitoring mechanism of the Syrian ceasefire, to ensure that all violations are objectively accounted for, and that any party with a stake in the ceasefire’s success is not charged with monitoring it;

  • Pressure Member States to agree a rigorous enforcement mechanism for the ceasefire, including credible and pre-determined consequences for any violations;

  • Assert leadership over Syria’s political process to ensure that the Geneva Communiqué and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including 2118 and 2254, serve as the basis for constructive Geneva discussions focused on political transition;

  • Build confidence going into Geneva by pressing for full and continuous humanitarian access to all areas in need, including to besieged areas, and the full protection of all humanitarian aid workers;

  • Demand progress on Syria’s detainee file by securing the release of Syrian political prisoners held in detention and demanding a moratorium on all execution orders;

  • Partner with Syrian civil society to secure justice for all Syrian victims by stipulating that Syrian civil society serve in an advisory capacity to the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), rather than limiting civil society’s role to the provision of evidence;

  • Ensure meaningful inclusion of civil society and women in all stages of Syrian political process, as required by Security Council resolution 2254. This includes pushing for at least 30 percent representation of women within each party’s negotiating delegation.   

The letter, along with a full list of signatories, can be read here.

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