Thank you Madame President,
My name is Haithem Maleh. I am a Syrian lawyer who has worked for the realization of human rights in my country for decades. I have been imprisoned for my work numerous times. Most recently for a period of three years until I was released seven months ago. I know first hand the brutality the current Syrian government is capable of, and I know the difference the voice of the international community can make. It is in part due to the efforts of governments around the world who took up my case that I am alive and able to speak to you today.
As confirmed by the report before us, millions of Syrian people now find themselves prisoners, surrounded by tanks and snipers and machine guns while crying out for freedom. Today I ask you as a citizen, as a father and as a friend, how many innocent women, children and men must be murdered in the streets, how many tortured and mutilated, before we decide words are not enough? Let there be no doubt, the current government has demonstrated neither the ability or the will to provide justice to the Syrian people.
Several weeks ago the High Commissioner delivered the report before us to the Security Council and requested it to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, a request that was ignored. Today I urgently ask those states who failed to fully support this request to reconsider. When will my sisters and brothers from Brazil, India, China, Russia and elsewhere acknowledge what is already painfully clear?
Don’t let those who have died and suffered have done so in vain. The time for words is over- it is time to act.
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