Strasbourg, 02.09.2013 - The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting today in Dubrovnik (Croatia), condemned the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria which, on 21 August 2013, caused the death of hundreds of people, including a large number of children. Any use of chemical weapons anywhere by anybody, under any circumstances, constitutes a violation of international law and a crime against humanity. The Bureau calls on the international community to take action to pressurise those countries which have not yet done so to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention. It also calls for urgent action to bring the stocks of chemical weapons in Syria under international control to prevent access to them by those supporting or opposing the current Government.
The Bureau recalls that in its Resolutions 1878 (2012) on the situation in Syria and 1902 (2012) on the European response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Assembly urged a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Today, more than a year and a half later, the escalation of violence makes the need for a diplomatic process more urgent than ever. All parties concerned, both inside and outside the country, should, without further delay, move beyond their differences towards a peace conference on Syria. The use of arms can never lead to sustainable peace and is therefore not an option; only a political solution can put an end to the spiral of violence, but also to the dramatic situation of refugees and displaced persons.
The Bureau of the Assembly is particularly appalled by the huge number of refugees, especially of children, forced to flee Syria which, according to UN estimates, has reached one million. It urges once more the provision of unhindered humanitarian assistance to the wounded, refugees, displaced persons and all those in need both in Syria and in the neighbouring countries.