This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Comments Marietje Schaake on situation in Syria

Today, the European Parliament votes on a human rights resolution concerning Syria and the enduring Syrian crisis. More than four months ago, 2001 Sakharov Prize winner Razan Zaitouneh was kidnapped with her family and she has still not been found. Dutch Father Frans van der Lugt was killed in Syria on 7 April in Homs. Below, Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) comments: "The situation in Syria is going from bad to worse and thousands of innocent civilians continue to suffer. Sadly, people like Razan Zaitouneh and Frans van der Lugt are only the more prominent victims of the crisis in Syria. The longer this crisis goes on, the deeper the divisions between different ethnic and religious groups will become and the harder it will be to reach reconciliation in the end. That is why it is crucial that the international community applies pressure to the different groups to return to the negotiating table. Influential actors in the region, like Iran and the Gulf States, must also be involved." "Even if we know beforehand that there is no easy broad political solution to be reached, every small step that can be made is positive. At the last round of talks, a temporary ceasefire was agreed around the city of Homs. Maybe there is room to arrange more humanitarian access for the millions of internally displaced persons. The UN Security Council has called for that in its resolution at the end of February. That means Russia too has the responsibility to try to move the government in that respect. The current situation in other parts of the world does not change that. The EU, together with the US and others, must keep working to arrange this. Without a dialogue, there will be no progress and the slaughter will continue." Please find today's plenary speech of Marietje Schaake on Syria below. Marietje Schaake - Mr President, it is hard to believe we are ending this parliamentary term, and the discussion on human rights with a resolution on Syria. We need so much more. May the contrast between the horrors on the ground and the lack of Members in this House for every human rights resolution debate be a wake-up call to all of us and a reminder of how much more the EU can and must do to protect human rights. In fact, a majority of Europeans want the EU to protect human rights first and foremost. With more than 150[nbsp ]000 people killed, more than 6.5[nbsp ]million people internally displaced, more than 2.5[nbsp ]million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and no end in sight for this horrible war, what more do we need to be convinced about? Today we focus on minorities and their vulnerable positions – ethnic and religious minorities, but also women and children, suffer disproportionately among the civilian population that is increasingly crushed between Jihadist extremists and a murderous regime. I want to pay tribute to a Dutch priest, Father Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs on 7[nbsp ]April 2014. Human rights defenders, intellectuals, journalists and civil society activists continue to be victims of this horrible crisis, and so is the 2011 Sakharov Prize winner, Razan Zaitouneh, who was kidnapped together with her husband and two other human rights activists more than four months ago. We call for her release. The Assad regime has used sectarian polarisation as a survival strategy, so may we ourselves be careful not to fall into the trap of emphasising differences in the plight of one minority over another. Let us stand united in recognising that the rights of minorities are inextricably linked to the upholding of other fundamental human rights and freedoms, such as the right to liberty, security and equality, and the right to freedom of expression. A negotiated peace will require buy-in from all stakeholders, including Iran, the Gulf States and Russia, and it should lead to a society where all Syrians can live freely. But what a long way away that is.