Today, the Syrian Humanitarian Resolution of 2014 (S. Res. 384), introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) last month, was unanimously approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The resolution 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 by the full Senate, the resolution calls for President Obama to develop and submit a more robust U.S. strategy for addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis to Congress within 90 days.
"While the Assad regime continues to ignore deadlines and break promises, millions of innocent Syrian civilians, including children, continue to suffer and this humanitarian crisis continues to grow," said Rubio. "The Senate should adopt this resolution quickly and send a clear message to the Obama administration that we need a new humanitarian strategy that includes concrete actions to increase pressure on Assad instead of giving him more room to maneuver and commit these atrocities."
"Today's vote sends an important, bipartisan message of support for the Syrian people, and calls on the Administration to develop an enhanced U.S. strategy to address the humanitarian crisis as millions of innocent people endure their fourth year of suffering at the hands of Bashar al-Assad," said Kaine. "Acknowledging that the U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the world, there remains a collective will among members of this body that we can and should be doing more in Syria. The most immediate answer is a more robust humanitarian strategy, and this resolution moves us one step closer to that goal."
Other cosponsors include Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Edward Markey (D-MA) Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Tom Udall (D-NM).
Many humanitarian and human rights organizations have expressed support for this resolution, including: Alliance for Peacebuilding, Amnesty International, The Center for Victims of Torture, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Interaction, International Rescue Committee, Open Society Policy Center, Pax Christi International, Physicians for Human Rights, Refugees International, Syrian American Medical Society, The Syrian Nonviolence Movement, United to End Genocide, Syrian Relief and Development, and World Vision.
"Passage of the Syrian Humanitarian Resolution of 2014 would be an important statement from the U.S. Congress in recognizing the scale of the crisis and the depth of the human rights violations being committed," these organizations said in a joint statement of support. "Our organizations are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the people of Syria do not lose another year to bloodshed and suffering. We stand with the people of Syria, and people around the world, in calling for our leaders to make the same commitment and engage the public. We urge strong support for and swift passage of this critical resolution."