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08.03.2016
Press

Syria - Accountability key for future after truce

Press release from EFA MEP Alyn Smith (SNP)

For over a week now Syria has seen a significant reduction of violence as the partial cessation of hostilities agreed, following international pressure on both the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition, has largely held.

In today's plenary debate in the European Parliament on Syria with the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini, Alyn Smith MEP warned that accountability was key for the future of Syria.

Alyn Smith MEP

After hosting an important exhibition on crimes against humanity in Syria last year and inviting leading independent reporters from the field, the Scottish member of the Foreign Affairs Committee called on the EU to support the documentation of war crimes and human rights violations in Syria.

Alyn Smith said:

"The EU is a values-based community and acting as a collective we have, finally, started to see some cause for hope in Syria after all the years of heartbreak.  The EU is in a better position than most to facilitate dialogue to end the bloodshed. 

"We also have to help Lebanon and Jordan overcome the refugee crisis, and I welcome the reopening of the European Commission's Humanitarian Office (ECHO) in Damascus.

"That being said the importance of ensuring accountability for the crimes committed in Syria should remain high on our agenda: we need to urgently look at how we can better support NGOs documenting human rights violations in Syria."

"There will be no peace without justice, and the way to achieve justice is by making sure we have all the tools at our disposal to document the extremely grave abuses we have seen in Syria, from all sides.  The EU must support NGOs, domestically and internationally, in this vital work."