Congress Introduces Stop UN Support for Assad Act

Legislation Ensures Taxpayer Dollars Fund Humanitarian Aid, Not Regime War Crimes

October 29, 2019

Washington, DC — Today, Americans for a Free Syria (AFS) applauded the introduction of H.R. 4868, the Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019, by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), all of whom are members of the Free Syria Caucus. The legislation will prevent any U.S. taxpayer dollars from going to the Assad regime as it continues its brutal campaign of war crimes.

“In areas throughout the country controlled by Assad, the evidence is clear: a large portion of UN aid isn’t actually getting to the people who need it. Instead, it’s getting diverted to Assad and his cronies. According to the UN, 11.7 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, mostly as a result of Assad’s war crimes. But instead of helping those civilians in need, the UN’s humanitarian aid is—in many ways—furthering their suffering,” said Ismael Basha, President of Americans for a Free Syria. “While northeast Syria is in turmoil, President Assad has signaled that a new military offensive is imminent in the northwest. The Stop UN Support for Assad Act will certify that UN aid actually lives up to its promise of neutrality and reaches the people it’s supposed to help, instead of underwriting Assad’s attacks on civilians.

“It seems impossible, but Assad has eroded yet another international humanitarian norm in weaponizing UN aid. We urge the House to move this bill quickly to stop Assad and ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars never fund war crimes.”

According to numerous reports from Human Rights Watch (Syria: Government Co-Opting Recovery Efforts), Dr. Annie Sparrow of WHO (How UN Humanitarian Aid Has Propped Up Assad”), former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford (Assad’s Syria Plays Dirty with US Humanitarian Aid”) and researcher Emma Beals (“How Assad Controls UN Aid Meant for Syria’s Children”), Assad continues to weaponize humanitarian aid to punish political opponents and fill his own coffers and those of his close associates.

H.R. 4868, the Stop UN Support for Assad Act of 2019, would:

  • Make it U.S. policy that no U.S. assistance should be given directly or indirectly to the Assad regime in Syria, including through UN organs.
  • Require the Secretary of State to certify that UN programming in Syria does not materially support the Assad regime and adheres to the UN’s own Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • Require that, if the Secretary of State certifies in the negative, the United States would redirect funds to USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for Syria programming.

Americans for a Free Syria (AFS) is a non-partisan, non-profit that advocates for human rights, the rule of law and U.S. national security interests in Syria.