(New York) – Russia and other United Nations Security Council members should support a proposed resolution that would impose sanctions on Syrian government officials responsible for chemical attacks, Human Rights Watch said today. The Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution as early as February 28, 2017.
The proposed resolution is in response to an October 2016 report of a joint investigation by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which concluded that Syrian government forces and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) have used chemicals as weapons, even though Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in October 2013. Russia has supported past Security Council resolutions on chemical attacks in Syria, including to demand the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons program and to establish the joint investigation. Both resolutions threatened measures under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter if Syria used chemical weapons in the future. Russia has said that it will veto the resolution.
“The investigation’s clear findings that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons demand a response from the Security Council,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “Vetoing the proposed resolution would undermine the most widely accepted weapons ban in all of international law.”