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Remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Development Cooperation on the occasion that more than 1 million people have now fled Syria

07.03.2013  14:01

On 6 March 2013 the number of refugees from Syria reached 1 million. Almost half of these have fled the country during the first months of 2013. Meanwhile, more than 4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria. More than 70.000 people have died during the conflict.  The Independent Commission of Inquiry established under the UN Human Rights Council has established that the regime's conduct could amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, and that actions by elements within the armed insurgency could amount to war crimes.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Villy Søvndal states: “It is deeply shameful that we today have reached 1 million refugees in Syria's neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, the fact that it has come so far indicates that the conflict continues to develop in the wrong direction. The Syrian regime now fires Scud missiles directly at civilian areas.  Respect for fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law is suppressed from several sides. Such atrocities must not go unpunished. The perpetrators of violations - from all sides - must be held accountable. Only the UN Security Council can refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. All members of the Security Council must live up to their special responsibility and address this question without hesitation." Minister for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach states: "Up to 40,000 people are now leaving Syria each week. This is a critical message to the world about collapse, fear and suffering. The international community must do its utmost to stop the conflict, and we must strengthen humanitarian assistance, so the numerous refugees and displaced feel that the world helps and remembers them. I am pleased that the international community delivered a strong response to the crisis and together pledged 1.5 billion USD at the Donors' Conference on 30 January. Now we must all work to follow up on the promises made in Kuwait. Denmark is among the countries that have taken the lead to ensure that aid reaches all those in need - both refugees outside Syria and the millions of people still living in the conflict areas inside Syria. The aid must reach those in need, even if it means that in some cases it must be delivered without consent from the Syrian government. I am also pleased that the United Nations has reported that humanitarian access inside the country has improved a little lately."

For more information please contact:

Lars Bøgeskov, special adviser to the Minister of Development, tel: +45 252676865