Note: This transcript is edited to include only remarks by U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo. She was joined at the press conference by the Permanent Representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Portugal.
I’ll be very brief; I just want to echo what my colleagues have said. We heard a very troubling briefing from Commissioner Pillay today. It’s very clear from her briefing that we’ve got a human rights crisis in Syria that is also a threat to international peace and security.
Commissioner Pillay reminded us that when she briefed us almost four months ago the death toll was then at 2,000. It’s now around 5,000. So it’s more than doubled in the past four months. Now, we’ve seen bold steps that the Arab League has taken. We’ve also seen that one of Syria’s neighbors—close neighbors—Turkey, has taken some very bold steps—multilateral bodies as well: the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly’s Third Committee. This, in addition to the sanctions that had been imposed by the European Union and the United States, is leaving the Asad regime even more isolated. We find it unconscionable that the Security Council has not spoken out on this issue in recent months given everything that has happened.
We really need to see the Security Council on the right side of history here, to stand with the Syrian people. We, like other colleagues on the Council, my colleagues here, are in touch with the Arab League. We are very much looking forward to the results of the meetings that are going to happen in a few days, and we will be solidly behind them in support of many of the things that they and we have called for, in particular, an end – an immediate end – to all the violence, the deployment of international human right monitors, including the Commission of Inquiry, and freedom of movement for journalists as well.
Thank you very much.
Reporter: Ambassador DiCarlo, can we hear your position on the Palestine versus Syria situation? Is that helpful to the Syrians’ push?
Ambassador DiCarlo: I think it’s very clear. I think that Ambassador Lyall Grant has stated very clearly what this attempt was. It was an attempt to detract and deflect from the topic at hand, from the focus on the meeting that was requested to address the very serious, appalling human rights situation in Syria. That is what the majority of the Council wanted to hear and wanted to discuss today. Efforts to raise other issues were an attempt, and a very blatant one, to deflect from that.