Sweden and Kuwait to present resolution in UN Security Council on humanitarian situation in Syria

After seven years of war, the violence and suffering in Syria continue. A peaceful solution appears remote. Despite efforts to reduce the violence, recent weeks have been among the bloodiest since the conflict began. Thousands of people have lost their lives, tens of thousands have been forced to flee, and hospitals and schools have been bombed.

The humanitarian situation remains one of the worst the world has seen, with millions of displaced people, many of them still in Syria. The vulnerability of women and children remains a matter of concern. The situation of the humanitarian organisations continues to be difficult, and they are often denied access to the many people in need in Syria. When international law, including humanitarian law, is violated on a daily basis, it is our duty to act.

For this reason, Sweden and Kuwait – at the request of the humanitarian actors – are presenting a resolution in the UN Security Council to bring about a ceasefire, an end to sieges and attacks against civilians, hospitals and schools, guaranteed humanitarian access and medical evacuation of those most in need in Syria. Sweden and Kuwait have a particular responsibility for the Security Council's work on humanitarian issues in Syria in light of our role as penholders. In this role, last December Sweden and the then two co-penholders, Egypt and Japan, helped ensure that a resolution allowing continued cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syria was passed.

It is now essential for the international community to take collective action to achieve, in a first stage, a ceasefire and guarantee access for the humanitarian organisations so as to provide protection and provisions to the civilian population. At the same time, it remains clear that the only way to reduce the suffering is to find a sustainable political solution to the conflict. In this regard, all actors must actively and constructively support the UN-led peace process in Geneva and try to find a solution to the conflict in line with Security Council Resolution 2254. Countries that hold particular influence over the parties, not least the countries behind the Astana Agreement, have a special responsibility to end the suffering.

Sweden will continue to support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to find a political solution. In addition, we will continue to support, through humanitarian support and long-term development assistance measures, those affected by the conflict and forced to flee. However, the situation on the ground is so desperate that urgent action is required. It is our duty to try to reconcile disagreements in the Security Council and reach consensus on the importance of bringing the violence to an end and ensuring the delivery of the humanitarian assistance. Gaining support for the resolution will not be easy – but we must try.