Washington, DC- On the heels of three devastating reports released this week that highlight how more than 5.5 million Syrian children have been affected by the three-year-long Syrian crisis (UNICEF, Save the Children, World Vision), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on President Obama to develop and submit to Congress a more robust U.S. strategy for addressing the Syrian humanitarian crisis.
This week marks a grim anniversary – the conflict in Syria is entering its fourth year. Senator Casey delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, calling for a new strategy to bring the conflict to an end. He said, “I believe we can agree on a bipartisan basis that this kind of human suffering is unconscionable and that we have a national security interest in ending this conflict and countering the influence of Iran and Hezbollah in the region. We need to send a clear message from the Senate: we support efforts to bring Assad’s tyrannical rule to an end and to respond to this devastating humanitarian crisis, which threatens to destabilize the region and scar a generation of young Syrians.” Senator Casey also highlighted the humanitarian disaster created by the conflict; now 9.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria. In 2013, Senator Casey authored S. 617, a bipartisan bill that would have increased U.S. humanitarian assistance inside Syria and to refugee communities.
Senator Casey is an original cosponsor of the Syrian Humanitarian Resolution of 2014 (S. Res. 384), introduced by 19 senators today, which 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, both internally displaced within Syria, and in neighboring countries. If adopted, the resolution calls for the President to submit the new humanitarian strategy to relevant Senate committees within 90 days.
Led by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), other cosponsors of S. Res. 384 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), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Edward Markey (D-MA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
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.