7 Jun 2012

The failure of Annan’s six-point plan for Syria

When it comes to Syria there is widespread agreement on one thing: Kofi Annan’s peace plan is failing. Channel 4 News looks at each point of the plan and asks whether any progress has been made?

Commit to work with the envoy (Kofi Annan) in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.

Speaking after his recent visit to Syria, Kofi Annan said “the spectre of all-out civil war, with a worrying sectarian dimension” was growing by the day.

While the violence abated somewhat on 12 April, the day the peace plan came into effect, the ceasefire did not last.

Following their most recent meeting, Mr Annan said President Assad “must make bold and visible steps immediately to radically change his military posture and honour his commitment to withdraw heavy weapons and cease all violence.”

The Syrian Network for Human Rights told Channel 4 News it has evidence of 9,000 violations of the peace-plan since it was implemented.

Commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilise the country.

The UN estimates that around 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Assad began.

Since the implementation of Kofi Annan’s peace plan more than 100 people have died the Houla massacre, rebels have killed more than 80 government soldiers and most recently the Syrian government has been accused of killing around 100 people, including women and children, near Hama.

Rebel leaders said they would no longer be bound by the peace plan following the Houla massacre.

Rime Allaf, an associate fellow at Chatham House, told Channel 4 News there is still almost daily evidence of “shelling and shooting” and that the Annan plan was “clearly not working”.

She said that tougher sanctions on the Syrian regime and an arms embargo, rather than military intervention, were still options but that the violence would continue unless there was “real will from the international community”.

Ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause.

On Wednesday the Syrian government agreed to allow the United Nations and international agencies to expand humanitarian operations.

The UN is to open field offices in four provinces – Deraa, Deir al-Zor, Homs and Idlib – and Syrian officials have pledged to accelerate the granting of visas for aid workers.

But many international aid organisations still do not have permission to work in Syria. Medicines Sans Frontiers told Channel 4 News it had been in discussions for months about trying to gain access and the fact it had so far not been able to do so was “unfortunate”.

Intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities.

Human Rights Watch estimates that over the last year, tens of thousands of people have been “unlawfully detained and brutally tortured” in secret detention centres operated by various intelligence agencies throughout Syria.

Kofi Annan has been informed that the Syrian government released 500 detainees following his visit at the end of May.

But Rime Allaf told Channel 4 News that was a “drop in the sea of the tens of thousands of people who have disappeared of the face of the earth.”

Ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them.

The Syrian government says it has let in more than 700 journalists since the start of the uprising.

Channel 4 News has been given two official visas to Syria. Our Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson has just returned from the country where he spent more than a week reporting on the afermath of the Houla massacre.

Many international journalists are still being denied open access to Syria.

Respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.

Demonstrations of varying size and varying degrees of violence have taken place in Syria since the uprising began 15 months ago.

Activists say the day after the peace plan was implemented several protesters were shot in various locations. On the same day the government said an army officer and dozens of others were injured when when a bomb exploded next to a military bus in Aleppo.

Dr Mousab Azzawi from the Syrian Network for Human Rights told Channel 4 News that anyone participating in a demonstration not protected by the Free Syrian Army “was in a terrible situation and risking his life”.