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

MEP: Syria should be EU human rights priority

Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the EU to treat the Syrian crisis as an absolute priority. Today the European Parliament will debate about the EU's priorities for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Schaake: "Whenever possible, but especially at the UN Human Rights Council, the EU must place the Syrian crisis at the top of the agenda to discuss and address the huge and diverse problems. Although a solution to the brutal war seems far away at the moment, that is no reason to do nothing, we have to put all our efforts into trying to make the situation on the ground a little more bearable." Humanitarian aid After talks in Geneva between the regime and opposition, earlier this year, humanitarian organisations were allowed access to besieged parts of Homs for a short period of time. Schaake wants the EU to redouble its efforts to make this possible in other parts of the country. "We have to make sure that we deliver aid where it is needed. The EU supplies large amounts of money and goods to Syria's neighbouring countries and must keep on doing so. Too often aid convoys are stopped at the border or they are unable to reach the areas where they areas needed most. This is also due to the fact that both the regime and the rebels are using starvation also a weapon of war in areas where military advances have ground to a halt. The UN Human Rights Council is certainly the right place to discuss this subject." Geneva Even though there does not seem to be a political solution in sight, all influential actors must be included in talks in Geneva under the auspices of the UN. "The long awaited negotiation rounds in Geneva have not lead to concrete results as of yet. But we must carry on and realise that the conflict between the two sides is so large and complex that it will take a very long time before any potential agreement can be reached. It is of the utmost importance that key players in the region, which are supporting both sides of the conflict, are involved in the talks, such as Russia, Iran and Saudi-Arabia. If we do not do that, we can never reach a sustainable solution."