Responding to devastating reports on the plight of 5.5 million Syrian children thrown into peril by civil war, 19 U.S. senators have introduced a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to develop and send to Congress “a more robust U.S. strategy for addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis."
The bipartisan resolution comes on the heels of a series of reports — by UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision and Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News — detailing in personal terms the millions of young victims of the bloody Syrian conflict, including those displaced inside the country and in refugee camps in neighboring countries.
It condemns "the unlawful use of violence against civilians in Syria, urges all parties in the country to allow for immediate, unfettered access to humanitarian aid, supports the immediate and full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, and calls on the international community to continue assisting innocent victims of the crisis."
If adopted, the resolution requests Obama submit the new humanitarian strategy to relevant Senate committees within 90 days.
"One of history's greatest humanitarian catastrophes is unfolding before our eyes," said Tim Kaine, D-Va., a leading cosponsor of the resolution. "The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world, giving $1.7 billion thus far. But I refuse to accept there's nothing more we can do to end the suffering." Kaine also said he would join humanitarian and rights groups in a vigil for Syrian children outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.
"It is clear by now that the measures taken to try and end Bashar al-Assad's brutality against the Syrian people have failed," said Marco Rubio, R-Fla., another leading cosponsor. "As long as the Assad regime continues to ignore deadlines and break promises without fear of consequence, millions of Syrian civilians, including children, will continue to suffer and even be indiscriminately killed."
Kaine and Rubio, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were joined by 17 other senators in cosponsoring the bipartisan resolution, which is also supported by numerous humanitarian and peace groups.
— Jeff Black
First published March 13 2014, 4:41 PM