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Costa Rica calls for peaceful solution to crisis in Syria

Costa Rica has moral authority to speak on issues of authoritarian violence in Syria, writes guest blogger Jackie Briski, having experienced years of destructive civil war.

By Jackie BriskiGuest blogger / February 21, 2012

• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, The views expressed are the author's own.

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The public statement made by the Ambassador of Costa Rica in regards to the situation in Syria was so notable I thought it deserved its own blog post.

After speaking out boldly against the on-going human rights violations being perpetrated by the al-Assad regime against the people of Syria, the Ambassador went on to question the Security Council itself:

The representative of Costa Rica expressed his delegation’s deepest concern about the gruesome human rights violations being carried out in Syria.  The international community could not remain silent, he stressed, calling on the Syrian authorities to definitively end attacks against civilians and other human rights violations.  Condemning reports of sexual violence, including that perpetrated against girls and boys, he said all international stakeholders should work towards a swift and peaceful solution to the crisis, in line with the Arab League’s Plan of Action.  The Human Rights Council had been playing its role of promoting a peaceful solution and, with the appropriate tools already at its disposal, it should move to create the position of Special Rapporteur on the situation in Syria, he said, calling attention to that Council’s report on the very serious acts — pointing to possible crimes against humanity — being carried out in Syria.

Expressing concern that the Security Council had been unable to act on the matter, he said it had been prevented from acting by the use of a veto.  The Council required deep reform, chiefly so that such measures could not be used to stymie action in the face of the worst international crimes, he emphasized.  Stakeholders might disagree on certain matters, but the international community must speak resoundingly when human rights violations and acts of violence against civilians were committed.  The international community should explore all avenues to reach a solution and ensure that those who had committed grave crimes were held responsible, including through referring the Syrian issue to the International Criminal Court.  Finally, he said the “voices of change cannot be silenced with violence”, and called for a solution that met the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

Costa Rica has been a key player in the development of the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P). Although in practice the concept of R2P can be somewhat complex, in theory, it’s based on three pillars:

1. State sovereignty implies responsibility of leaders to protect the people from things like internal conflict, insurgency, repression, and state failure.


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