Text: S.Res.384 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Agreed to Senate (04/03/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. RES. 384


Expressing the sense of the Senate concerning the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries, resulting humanitarian and development challenges, and the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 13, 2014

Mr. Kaine (for himself, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Cardin, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Menendez, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Casey, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Warner, Mr. Kirk, Mr. King, Mr. Markey, Mr. Cruz, Mrs. Feinstein, Ms. Collins, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Franken, Mr. Burr, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, and Mr. Coons) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

April 2, 2014

Reported by Mr. Menendez, without amendment

April 3, 2014

Considered and agreed to


RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Senate concerning the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries, resulting humanitarian and development challenges, and the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis.

    Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139, adopted on February 22, 2014, expresses grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular the dire situation of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged areas, most of whom are besieged by the Syrian armed forces and some by opposition groups, as well as the dire situation of over 3,000,000 people in hard-to-reach areas, and deplores the difficulties in providing, and the failure to provide, access for the humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need inside Syria;

    Whereas widespread and systematic attacks on civilians, schools, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure, in violation of international humanitarian law, continue in Syria, and parties to the conflict are blocking humanitarian aid delivery, including food and medical care from many civilian areas;

    Whereas the World Health Organization estimates that 70 percent of Syria’s health professionals, up to 80,000 people, have fled the country, cases of typhoid, tuberculosis, polio and other diseases are rampant and increasing, and medical personnel inside Syria are deliberately targeted by parties to the conflict;

    Whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered more than 2,500,000 Syrian refugees, nearly 80 percent of whom are women and children, and by the end of this year, the United Nations estimates the number of refugees will increase to 4,000,000;

    Whereas nearly 500,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict are children under the age of five, and more than 11,000 children have been killed and thousands more have suffered severe injuries, including burns, shrapnel wounds, the severing of limbs, and spinal cord injuries;

    Whereas over 5,000,000 children affected by the conflict desperately need food, clean water, shelter, medical care and psychosocial support;

    Whereas, since 2011, nearly 3,000,000 Syrian children have been forced to quit their education as fighting has destroyed classrooms, left children too terrified to go to school, and forced families to flee the country;

    Whereas the refugee crisis threatens the stability of the Middle East, putting immense burdens on Syria's neighbors, most notably Lebanon and Jordan, as well as Turkey and Iraq; and

    Whereas the United States Government has played a leading role in addressing the Syrian crisis, providing $1,700,000,000 in humanitarian assistance to those suffering inside Syria, as well as to refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) strongly condemns the unlawful use of violence against civilians by all parties to the conflict in Syria, particularly the ongoing violence and widespread human rights violations perpetrated against the people of Syria by the Government of Syria;

(2) urges all parties to the conflict to immediately halt indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure;

(3) affirms the neutrality of medical professionals providing humanitarian assistance and health care on a non-political basis, and condemns attacks against such personnel or interference in the provision of medical care;

(4) urges all parties in Syria to allow for and facilitate immediate, unfettered access to humanitarian aid throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, respecting the safety, security, independence, and impartiality of humanitarian workers and ensuring freedom of movement to deliver aid;

(5) supports the immediate and full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 (2014), which calls for unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance to all Syrians to address the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular the dire situation of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in besieged areas, most of whom are besieged by the Syrian armed forces and some by opposition groups, as well as the dire situation of over 3,000,000 people in hard-to-reach areas;

(6) calls on the international community to assist the people of Syria, especially internally displaced persons and refugees, in meeting basic needs, including access to food, health care, shelter, and clean drinking water;

(7) calls on the international community to support civilians and innocent victims of the conflict in Syria, particularly women and children who are displaced and vulnerable to physical and psychological exploitation;

(8) calls on the international community to implement steps that prevent gender-based violence, and assure the protection of women and girls against sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and rape;

(9) calls on the international community to continue to support neighboring countries and host communities who are generously supporting refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria;

(10) calls on the international community to increase investment for education in host communities to expand learning opportunities for refugee children and to support programs that help children gain access to quality education, protect them from violence and abuse, and provide counseling and psychosocial support;

(11) calls on countries that are hosting refugees in the region to support refugee self-reliance and dignity by expanding employment opportunities for refugees;

(12) calls on international donors and aid agencies to integrate humanitarian relief and longer term development programs through a comprehensive regional strategy to address the protracted crisis in Syria; and

(13) calls on the President to develop and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress within 90 days from adoption of this resolution a strategy for United States engagement in addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis, to include assistance and development, and protecting human rights inside Syria and in the region.