Congresswoman Betty McCollum's Statement Condemning the Ongoing Violence in Syria
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn the unspeakable violence that the Government of Syria has committed—and continues to commit—against its own citizens. For the past eleven months, the Syrian people have engaged in peaceful demonstrations to demand their basic, universal human rights. These demonstrations have been met with unrelenting bloodshed and torture. Thousands of Syrian men, women, and children have been slaughtered. There can be no question: President Bashar al-Assad must step down, or be removed from power.
Last week, the United States, the Arab League, and a growing international coalition together called for a United Nations Security Council resolution that would end the crisis and begin a transition to democracy in Syria. I am appalled that Russia and China have chosen to veto this measure, and stand with a brutal dictator rather than the Syrian people. This veto is an outrage, and serves only to endorse President Assad's ongoing massacre. On February 4th, the day of the UN Security Council vote, the Syrian military launched a devastating attack on the city of Homs that continues today. Hundreds of unarmed civilians have been killed.
I strongly support President Obama's efforts to work with America's western and Arab allies to stop the bloodshed. Though China and Russia have chosen to stand with Assad, the world will not. Already, nations across the Middle East and throughout the world are expelling Syrian diplomats, tightening sanctions, and ratcheting up pressure on the Syrian government. The time has come for President Assad to step down, and for the Syrian people to determine their own future.