51st Human Rights Council Reports

Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria 


September 12th, 2022: Special Report on Syria

Main Report:

The President opens the interactive dialogue for the independent commission of inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria gives an introduction to the report.

He begins by giving an overview of the situation currently in Syria. He states that the Syrian people live with intolerable suffering among the ruins of this lengthy conflict. Millions are suffering in displacement camps, while resources are becoming scarce, donor fatigue rises, and the incidences of cholera continue to increase. He also points out that while there has been a reduction in overall fighting, attacks still claim civilian lives and destroy infrastructure, including water and food reserves during a drought. Syria cannot afford large-scale fighting.

Civilians also face hardships away from the front line. Civilians in government controlled areas see targeted killings continue with impunity. There have been 92 civilians killed or injured in attacks from January to June. At the same time, bombings have increased all over the country, five foreign armies remain active and some even have effective control over some territory.

Israel continues to attack the Damascus airport, delaying the arrival of humanitarian supplies and unilateral sanctions often unintentionally hurt Syrian civilians. This has led to a further deterioration of economic and humanitarian situations. The chair suggests to the international community that they conduct independent investigations into this.

The chair also points out that in government controlled areas the practices of torture, ill-treatment, forced disappearance, and detainment are systemic. At the same time, these threats extend to displaced Syrians while families of detainees must pay bribes to secure release or news of loved ones, and torture, including sexual torture, continues in detention facilities controlled by non-state actors. SNA has scaled up arrests of people with ties to YPG or self-administrative authorities. Many of these people were conscripted into YPG and thus have had no control over their own fates since the war began.

Throughout Syria, fundamental freedoms including movement, expression, association, and peaceful assembly remain heavily restricted. Activists, journalists, and others expressing opposing views were subjected to intimidation, threats, or arrests. The government's new decree on cybercrime further risks curtailing freedom of expression and exposes those who have opposing views to imprisonment. At the same time, NGO workers have been arrested, and organizations were dissolved or had their assets seized.

Despite this, the chairman recognizes and welcomes Syria's positive engagement with the UPR process in this council in January 2022. He also welcomes some of the actions taken on a few of the recommendations previously made. However, he still urges even more cooperation.

Going into more specific detail, the chairman first begins by outlining the situation in the Northwest of the country. HTS enforces restrictions on local press freedoms, interferes with the work of local organizations, especially those relating to gender-based violence. At the same time, SNA has restricted civic activities in Aleppo, resulting in self-censorship, and undermining the ability of women activists to contribute to public life Press freedom also came under threat in the Northeast, when self-administrative authorities suspended the license of a large media network. Journalists were arrested and kidnapped by unidentified individuals, and the offices of political parties were attacked.

Meanwhile in displacement camps, the living conditions are unbearable, leaving many with little choice but to return to their homes, even when on the front line. At the same time, others were prevented from returning due to a lack of housing, lending, and property rights guarantees. For example, in Deir ez-Zor, the Syrian army continued to seize and use private property belonging to displaced Syrians perceived as opposing the government. Similarly, HTS confiscated the property of displaced individuals who were critical of their rule or supported the government. In Aleppo, systematic property appropriation by SNA members forced many to leave the area and prevents their return. Those who tried to get their property back were arrested and detained. Women whose spouses were detained or went missing faced particular difficulties when attempting to secure the tenure to their homes and properties.

On top of all of this, Daesh is still a clear threat, with the 20th January attack on Al-Sina prison a stark reminder of this. The fighting around the prison killed hundreds while attacks to push back Daesh, including attacks by USAF, lead to significant civilian property damage and destruction. This prison and others in the region hold around 10,000 suspected Daesh members. These prisons also highlight the plight of hundreds of older boys, who have been detained in "insufferable conditions" for almost 4 years. Some endure untreated mental illness, malnutrition, and tuberculosis in overcrowded cities. Nearly 58,000 people (37,000 children) remain unlawfully deprived of their liberty and as the security situation continues to deteriorate, there have been murders and deadly clashes.

The chairman believes the international community has a great responsibility for this situation. The need for repatriations is more urgent than ever, especially as momentum finally grows. He commends the countries that have repatriated their nationals but at the current speed it will take decades to empty the camps. This is too slow.

However, the greatest tragedy of the Syrian War is the unknown fate of the tens of thousands of missing or forcibly disappeared and the suffering of their families. The chairman points out that the COI welcomes the recent release by the Secretary General of his urgent report on these issues and his recommendation for the establishment of an international body as called for by the families and survivors. This body focusing strongly on the victims and survivors, inclusive of families, must be established as soon as possible. It must focus on clarifying the fates and whereabouts of those who are missing and must provide adequate support to the victims, survivors, and their families. It must address the gender impact of the disappearances, notably the effect of family family members of the missing.

The chairman closes his introduction by saying "Don't look away. The Syrian people look toward your response."

The Syrian Arab Republic (Country concerned), represented by Mr. Hussam Edin Aala, responds by first stating that reports targeting individual states continue to be governed by double standards and western interventionist agendas in a way that contradicts the principles and purposes of the charter of the UN. Syria reiterates its objection to the non-consensual resolution S17/1 which established the commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as the relevant subsequent resolution which extended the mandate and the biased and politicized reports it issues. Syria claims that the report gives a misleading understanding of the situation and gives fals labels and descriptions, ignoring the true nature of the terrorist war. Syria also states that many of the terrorist groups they are fighting and who are committing crimes on Syrian territory come from the "majority of the world's countries" and are falsely reported as Syrian armed opposition.

The adoption of fabricated narratives promoted on social media platforms by hostile countries and parties are presented as facts in the report. Syria claims this represents just one example of the commission's unprofessionalism and lack of credibility. The commission distorts Syria's efforts to protect its people, help return displaced peoples, and provide for their basic needs.

Syria also claims that the commission's report is used to avoid condemning Israel's attacks on civilian infrastructure in Syria. At the same time, the terroristic and aggressive acts committed against Syria by the US, Turkey, and Israel, in conjunction with the theft of its natural and economic resources, including the use of water by Turkish occupiers as a weapon of war, 1 million people in Al-Hasaka Governate have been without water for 50 days continuously.

Despite this, the Syrian government continues to work towards strengthening and expanding the humanitarian response for its citizens and expanding access to basic services, infrastructure, and the return of displaced peoples. It is not the fault of the Syrian government, but instead the fault of groups like the US and EU who continue to impose unilateral coercive acts that many Syrians still do not enjoy basic human rights and the economic crisis in Syria worsens.

Syria calls for a commitment to making rapid progress and implementing early recovery projects, including in the electricity and water sectors. It also calls for enhancing the delivery system of humanitarian assistance from inside Syria as stipulated in the UNSC resolution 2642. Syria calls for the abandonment of the conditionality of receiving aid.

Despite setbacks imposed by the those opposed to the Syrian regime, Syria is continuing national reconciliation, which includes an act which grants amnesty for terrorist activity comitted before 30/4/2022. This reflects Syria's advanced stage of reconstruction.

The Statements of States in Response to the Report

Lithuania, represented by Mr. Darius Saniulis, speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries, supports the work of the commission of inquiry and appreciates its latest comprehensive report. The human rights situation remains dire into the 12th year of the conflict. This is exacerbated by attacks, committed by Syria and allies like Russia, on civilian objects including water stations, fuel depots and farms. These attacks have led to shortages of water, food insecurity, and cholera in Aleppo and other regions. Meanwhile, Russia's military aggression in Ukraine has increased food insecurity. Lithuania is also concerned about cross border aid provided through a specific corridor and urges all parties to refrain from providing support and funds to government forces and other parties to the conflict who commit war crimes. Lithuania also supports the international monitoring and accountability mechanisms, including the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). Accountability for crimes committed against the Syrian people must be ensured.

The European Union, represented by Mr. Thomas Wagner, thanks the commission and reiterates its strong support. The EU condemns the widespread violations of abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, especially by the Syrian Regime and its allies. The EU remains determined to fight impunity and calls to have the Syrian situation referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The report highlights numerous violations against returnees and the EU shares the commission's conclusion that Syria is not a safe place to return to. The EU is also concerned about reports of social and demographic engineering. Safe and engender access to human rights organizations is imperative.

Qatar, represented by Ms. Hend Abdalrahman Al-Muftah, thanks the commission for their report. Qatar expresses its concern over the ongoing violence and violations of human rights, especially in government controlled regions. Qatar also supports the appeal made by the secretary general to put into place an inquiry to determine the fate of disappeared persons.

Liechtenstein, represented by Mr. Kurt Jäger, thanks the commission for its report and work. The delegation is concerned by the deteriorating situation on the ground as a result of the worst humanitarian and economic crisis in Syria since the start of the conflict. Liechtenstein also condemns the use of arbitrary detention, torture, and ill-treatment as a method of suppression and warfare. The almost completely destroyed and deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure leaves the civilian population with the sad choice between displacement camps with appalling conditions or returning to homes in frontline areas. The delegation supports all accountability and investigative mechanisms, particularly COI and IIIM. They call for the documentation of all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and support referring issues to the ICC.

Kuwait, represented by Mr. Naser Abdulla H. M. Alhayen, thanks the commission. Kuwait condemns the human rights violations highlighted in the report and expresses grave concerns about the continued attacks on innocent civilians. Given the importance of the question of missing persons, Kuwait, through its non-permanent member on the security council, has written and put forward the resolution 2474. The delegation thanks the independent commission for its concern on missing persons and hopes the human right council (HRC) will deal seriously with the issue. They call on all parties to the conflict to provide information on the missing individuals.

Kuwait, at the same time, has taken full responsibility towards the Syrian people since the start of the crisis and has sought to mobilize international support for humanitarian operations and assist countries hosting the displaced. Kuwait wishes to reiterate that there is no military solution, only a political one.

Switzerland, represent by Mr. Gaël Restrepo Barman, commends the inquiry work done by the commission. It is concerned over the continuing human rights violations and calls on all parties to respect human rights law and international humanitarian law. Switzerland also stresses the issue of missing persons and "notes with interest" the commission's advocacy for the establishment of a body to compile the applications and requests of family members of missing and disappeared people, setting up a system to efficiently and effectively identify those missing and help their families. Switzerland reaffirms its support for the UN's special envoy, the commission of inquiry, and IIIM and recalls that it is only an inclusive political solution that can lead to sustainable peace.

Israel, represented by Ms. Meirav Eilon Shahar, states that it is vital that the world not forget what is happening in Syria. They claim the Syrian governmetn is detaining and bombing civilians to silence critics and are trying to torture their population into submission. The report of the COI highlights many shocking events over the past year. People are electrically shocked, burned, and folded into car tires. Syrian military intelligence continues to storm homes and beat civilians and lists numerous atrocities committed by the Syrian air force with air strikes. Israel states that the world must condemn what is happening in Syria and bring accountability for those responsible.

Cyprus, represented by Ms. Andrea Petranyi, thanks COI. Cyprus calls attention to the violations of human rights, the threat of further violations of Syrian territorial integrity, and the effects of occupation. There cannot be a return to large scale fighting but it appears to Cyprus that the conflict is heading in that direction. Cyprus sees it as imperative to implement current security council resolutions and a permanent cease fire. The delegation gives its strong support for the special envoy's efforts.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea, represented by Mr. Han Tae Song, accuses the commission of fabricating information and being politically motivated. DPRK believes it is best to address teh situation by respecting the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria and supporting Syria's anti-terror approach. The delegation reiterates its opposition to politicization and double standards, and to using human situations to one's own advantage.

France, represented by Ms. Emmanuelle Lachaussée, supports the mandate of COI. The Syrian regime is committing violations of human rights in territories under their control, and proliferating torture and sexual violence in detention facilities. The delegation calls on the Syrian regime to release all persons it is holding arbitrarily and to establish facts about disappeared persons. The International Committee of the Red Cross must be given access to detention facilities. France will work to combat impunity by cooperating with impartial mechanisms.

France also states that as the crisis worsens, only extending the transboundary humanitarian mechanism for 6 months with only one border crossing is insufficient. While France does welcome progress, the time extension must be longer and they call on Russia to cease taking the political process hostage.

Ecuador, represented by Mr. Alejandro Dávalos, thanks the commission and condemns violations of humanitarian law and rights. Ecuador deplores the alarming number of civilian victims and states that the humanitarian and economic crisis is at its worst point since the beginning of the conflict. It is vital to have independent and impartial investigations carried out and the delegation agrees with the appeal of the commission that those supporting parties to the conflict must refrain from providing weapons and financial support, especially if there are suspicions of war crimes and violations of international law. Ecuador calls for a peaceful resolution and a guarantee of humanitarian assistance.

Germany, represented by Ms. Natalia Kanand, aligns itself with the statement of the EU. Germany thanks the commission and gives full support to the mandate. Germany recognizes that nobody is safe in Syria and human rights violations continue and thus welcomes COI's recommendation for the creation of an independent mechanism with an international mandate to clarify the fate of mission persons in syria. The delegation also welcomes the security general's study on how to bolster efforts to clarify the same. Germany is ready to stand with partners and move forward.

Egypt, represented by Mr. Ahmed Ihab Abdelahad Gamaleldin, is deeply alarmed by the situation in Syria. It calls for a comprehensive approach which takes into account the causes and factors of the conflict, including the rise of terror groups, foreign interference, and attempts to change the demographic composition of Syria. Egypt calls on bodies to and stop attacks, instability and violations of human rights. The delegation restates that a political resolution in line with resolution 2524 draws up long term solutions, including a focus on infrastructure and the safe return of refugees. It calls on all parties to support the resolution.

Ireland, represented by Ms. Eimear Mcdermott, aligns itself with the statement of the EU and thanks the commission. Ireland condemns the serious violation of human rights documented and is concerned by the deepening of humanitarian crises and camps which drive displaced people to return to front line areas. The Irish delegation reiterates its call for a nationwide ceasefire and stresses the need for accountability for violations of human rights. Ireland supports COI and the independent mechanisms and calls for the situation to be referred to the ICC.

Iraq, represented by Ms. Zainab Hasan Khayoon Al Abtan, stresses the importance of tackling the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. 14.6 million people (6.1 million children) need assistance. Sanctions are worsening the economic and humanitarian situation and Iraq calls for the international community to put an end to the suffering and external interference. The interference has proved to be a failure over the past years. Syrians should be allowed to determine their own fate.

Iraq also calls attention to the 37,000 children being held in harsh circumstances in the al-Hol camp and asks the international community to take action. The delegation also calls on countries of origin to repatriate nationals, prosecute persons involved in crimes, and to rehabilitate and reintegrate those who are integral to economic activity and sustainability.

Australia, represented by Mr. Jeffrey Roach, thanks the commission and remains deeply concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation and continuing grave human rights violations which disproportionately affect women and children. Australia condemns the Assad regime's indiscriminate attacks on densely populated civilian areas and denounces destructive interference of the regime's enablers, especially ongoing military support from Russia. The delegation calls on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.

Luxembourg, represented by Ms. Nuria Garcia, fully supports the statement by the EU and thanks the commission. The delegation restates its appeal to the Syrian authorities and all parties involved in the conflict to cooperate fully with COI and to guarantee unhindered access to Syrian territory. The humanitarian crisis is at its worst and more than 80% of the population need aid. Luxembourg calls on the UNSC to ensure that the supply of transboundary humanitarian aid is guaranteed beyond the month of January.

Luxembourg is worried by Syria's and other parties' war crimes. The Syrian situation should be referred to the ICC. It also supports the recommendation to create a new international mechanism devoted to the question of missing persons in Syria.

Cuba, represented by Mr. Juan Antonia Quintanilla Román, reaffirms its support for a peaceful and negotiated solution "to the situation that has been imposed on Syria," without interference from outside with full respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty. The delegation rejects any direct or indirect armed intervention without Syria's consent and condemns all acts of terrorism, doublse standards in dealing with them, and attempts to desabilize Syria and other regional states as part of the Western powers geopolitical agenda. It reaffirms its confidence in the Syrian people to triumph together with their government over the policies of aggression and regime change these powers have attempted to impose on them. Cuba rejects mechanisms with obvious interventionist goals and geopolitical motivations.

The United Arab Emirates, represented by Mr. Saeed Ahmed Mohamed Aljarwan Alshamsi, has read the report of the independent and impartial COI with great interest. It affirms its support of what is in the report, including the call that " rapid, safe, unhindered, and unconditional access must be ensured for humanitarian aid and there should be a corridor covering all of the people in need in accordance with humanitarian principles." The UAE notes with deep concern the deterioration of the security situation and the ongoing instability cause by non-state armed forces. It stresses the need for concerted action with international partners to stop terrorist groups and prevent the spread of their violent propoganda. UAE reaffirms that a political solution appears to be the only viable one to end the crisis. Concessions are required from all sides and measures must be undertaken to build trust in accordance with UNSC resolution 2254. The delegation supports the efforts of the UN, in particular the special envoy.

Mala, represented by Mr. Christopher Grima, aligns itself with the EU's statement and thanks the commission. Malta condemns the serious violations of abuses against civilians and agrees with COI that all alleged perpetrators are held accountable following independent and impartial investigations. Malta deeply regrets that Syrian people continue to suffer unspeakable crimes and calls on all involved to cease torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment/punishment. The delegation joins the commission in calling to ensure rapid ,safe, unimpeded, and unconditional access to humanitarian relief and expanded aid, especially for internally displaced peoples. Malta recalls its support for a credible, sustainable, and inclusive peaceful solution based on UNSC 2254.

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), represented by Mr. Héctor Constant Rosales, reiterates its strong rejection of this politicized mandate against Syria that violates the foundational principles of this council and the UN charter. The delegation believes the mandate should not be renewed. Venezuela states that these reports are a manipulation of human rights and represent a politicized use of this council in favor of the interventionist agendas of hegemonic countries that ignore economic and humanitarian challenges faced by the Syrian people. The commission distorts the reality of the situation in Syria and does not look at the question of coercive measures, the looting of oil and Syrian wheat by the US, the impact of terrorism, and illegal occupation and foreign intervention. Venezuela believes UPR is an appropriate mechanism to deal with human rights on the basis of equality through dialogue and cooperation.

Jordan, represented by Mr. Belal Abdel-Kareem Ahmad Hazaimeh, recalls that it hosts 1 million Syrian refugees and is doing everything it can to support these people. The delegation reminds the committee of the importance of sharing the burden in order to deal with the significant drop in assistance provided internationally to refugees, UN organizations, and partners. The burden on host countries is growing and it is unacceptable for them to be the only countries to take this burden of the crisis.

Jordan believes specific measures must be taken to improve the lives of Syrians including in the South of the country and guarantee the security of borders. This will make it possible to ensure stability in Syria and provide humanitarian assistance across borders. Jordan supports international efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis in line with UN resolutions that will put an end to the suffering of Syrian peoples and guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria and restore its security, stability, and the role it plays and make it possible for all foreign troops to leave.

The Russian Federation, represented by Mr. Artur Chernyakov notes with regret that the situation in Syria is not becoming any better. In addition to growing threats in the security area, the economic situation is getting worse, especially against the backdrop of unilateral sanctions imposed by Western countries to serve their geopolitical interests. More than 14 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, while the north faces the threat of military escalation. Russia accuses the UN leadership of ignoring the appeals of the masses in relation to violations of the UN charter and norms of international law, including the looting of the natural resources of the country. Those are the obstacles to protecting human rights in Syria. The commission turns a blind eye to this and continues to come up with agenda driven documents to ensure that a Syrian settlement serves their interests. Peaceful solutions will only come from a respect of the sovereignty of Syria.

China, represented by Mr. Jiang Duan accuses the US and other western countries of having an unavoidable responsibility in the prolonged suffering of the Syrian people. Frequent military interventions by the US have caused massive civilian casualties, displacement, and incalculable property damage. The US is still controlling Syria's oil and gas resources, plundering over 80% of oil production, smuggling and burning food stocks, and seriously violating basic human rights. International interference will not solve Syria's problems and China has always maintained that the Syrian people should decide on the country's future on their own. The council spends time and resources but fails to play a positive role. The delegation hopes that COI and the international community will recognize the root causes of the Syrian crisis, and urges the US to stop its illegal presence and military activity, stop unilateral sanctions, and stop stealing oil and food.

The Netherlands, represented by Mr. Lars Tummers, aligns with the EU and thanks the commission. The Netherlands accuses the Syrian regime of being ruthless and cracking down on its own population. Human rights violations have become apart of daily life, including bombing campaigns and chemical attacks. The delegation also states that Syria has politicized the desperately needed aid through the denial of the basic right of Syrians to return home.

Chile, represented by Ms. Claudia Fuentes Julio, thanks COI. Chile has serious concerns about the violations of human rights and humanitarian law. It notes a special concern for the 14 and a half million people that require assistance, including many women and children being detained illegally in camps. The delegation urges parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and the basic principles of human rights. The only viable solution is a political one, so establishing the conditions of security which will support that is imperative.

The United States of America, represented by Ms. Michèle Taylor, thanks the commission for its documentation, particularly regarding the regime's ongoing atrocities. The US condemns abuses against detainees in detention facilities. These abuses are deliberately perpetrated by regime security forces on a systemic and massive scale. The delegation also calls on the regime to provide information on those missing, free those still alive, and release remains of those who have died. The US appreciates the consistent documentation of COI and is committed to progress with their partners.

Sri Lanka, represented by Mr. C. A. Chandraprema, believes the work of the human rights council must be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity. As specified by UNGA resolution 60/251. The proliferation of resolutions and mandates against specific countries run counter to the founding principles of this council. Improving human rights should be based on mutual respect and cooperation and have the consent of the country concerned. Past unilateral measures have had grave effects.

Sri Lanka commends measures taken by Syria despite this to protect its people from terrorism, to advance national reconciliation, and facilitate the return of displaced civilians. The delegation calls upon the council and international community to engage in constructive dialogue with the Syrian government.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Mr. Simon Manley thanks the commission for its latest report. The Syrian regime and its allies bear primary responsibility for these well-documented abuses. The commission has provided an evidentiary basis on which the international community now must act to hold the perpetrators to account. Tens of thousands of Syrians have been forcibly detained and disappeared during the conflict. The UK calls vehemently for answers.

Romania, represented by Ms. Maria Mihailsescu, aligns with the EU and thanks the commission. It reiterates its strong support for the mission's activities and asks the SAR to grant OCHR full and immediate access allowing for human rights monitoring and casualty recording. Romania welcomes the UNSG report on missing and disappeared people and reiterates that a political solution in line with UNSG 2254 is the only way to end the conflict. The delegation asks for all parties to enter a ceasefire and protect human rights.

Belarus, represented by Ms. Larysa Belskaya, states that the report is one more example of the West's destructive actions against Syria. Belarus is convinced of the counterproductiveness of establishing and operating the COI on Syria, and its recommendation to create more mechanisms. It would be more productive if resources were spent on aid packages agreed to with the Syrian government. 14 million people need aid due to the conflict and Western sanctions. The delegation calls it collective punishment carried out by the US and the EU, seeking to step up pressure on Syria and an inconvenient government in Syria which they have managed to overthrow. If the West truly cares about human rights, they should lift their sanctions and follow COI's recommendations themselves.

Italy, represented by Mr. Gian Lorenzo Cornado, commends the outstanding work of COI and its staff. Syrians suffer massive human rights violations that are systematic and Italy urges all parties in the conflict to end all violations of human rights and international law, to reveal the fate of all missing and disappeared people, and meaningfully engage in all relevant mechanisms. Fighting impunity is key to national reconciliation. All perpetrators should be held accountable. Italy will continue supporting the work of the COI and the IIIM which is essential to ensuring crimes do not go unpunished.

Lao People's Democratic Republic, represented by Mr. Boungnalith Southichak, thanks the commission. The LPDR welcomes the Syrian government's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, and its continued efforts towards stability and reconciliation. Country specific initiatives run counterproductive and are confrontational to the promotion and protection of human rights. The work of the HRC should be based on constructive consultation and cooperation and should be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.

Burundi, represented by Mr. Pacifique Nitunga, calls for peaceful cooperation and constructive dialogue, which are the linchpin of improving human rights in any country. It reiterates the need for an objective and constructive approach to guarantee the credibility of the work of the HRC and to achieve our joint goals. Specific mandates imposed on countries without their consent are flagrant violations of the principles of the UN charter. It is essential the international community engage in constructive dialogue with the Syrian government and support its efforts to face challenges. The delegation calls for a peaceful and negotiated solution, in full respect of Syria's sovereign and territorial integrity. The HRC must strictly respect principles of impartiality, objectivity, and nondiscrimination. The proliferation of country specific resolutions and mandates goes against these principles.

Greece, represented by Mr. Panayotis Stournaras, allies with the EU statement and thanks the commission. States must offer any humanitarian aid possible to Syrian refugees and civilians in conflict areas. Greece calls for accountability and stresses the need for the continuation of the relevant international efforts and the investigations of the IIIM. It urges all conflict parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire.

Greece is also worried about the commission's report regarding involvement of Turkey in Syria, which lead to civilian casualties and injuries. Greece reminds Turkey of its commitments under international humanitarian and human rights law, in light of the report stating that Turkey uses civilian property for military purposes and denies compensation requests.

Georgia, represented by Mr. Irakli Jgenti, appreciates work done by COI, and reiterates its full support to its mandate. Concerned by violations of human rights and humanitarian law across Syria, Georgia joins the commission in urging the Syrian regime to ensure rapid, safe, unimpeded, and unconditional access to humanitarian relief and expand aid to destitute people, especially those internally displaced. The delegation recalls its longstanding position for a credible, sustainable, and inclusive political solution, based on full implementation of UNSG resolution 2254.

Malawi, represented by Mr. Mathews Gamadzi, welcomes the report of the independent COI on the SAR. It thanks the commission for their efforts towards achieving accountability for violations in Syria. The delegation regrets the restrictions on fundamental freedoms, especially on women's rights activists, and urges the purposeful engagement of all parties involved in order to fully implement UNSG resolution 2254.

Albania, represented by Ms. Ravesa Lleshi, states that it is difficult to avoid a sense of failure when speaking on Syria. The delegation reiterates its full support for COI and thanks the commission for its efforts to support the fundamental demands of victims for justice against the perpetrators of atrocity crimes and human rights violations in Syria and for the commission's continued attention to the plight of the tens of thousands of missing and disappeared Syrians. It also commends COI for not mincing words about the challenges and dangers facing families, especially women, when they try to locate or find info on missing people. Albania calls for the creation of an independent mechanism with a strong international mandate to clarify the fate of missing persons in Syria.

Turkey, represented by Mr. Sinan Zeren, thanks the commission. Turkey states that as its neighbor it would like to see Syria be stable, peaceful, and prosperous. This can only be achieved through a viable political process in line with resolution 2254 and meaningful engagement first and foremost by the regime. Perpetrators of violations of humanitarian and human rights law must be brought to justice for the country to be normalized. Syria's territorial integrity is at risk, and the international committee should not remain indifferent ot the separatist agendas and violations committed by terrorist groups. The report fails to attribute the responsibility of the SDF, PKK, and YPG terrorist organizations in the attacks carried out against civilians in the opposition territories. This will only encourage the terrorist groups to continue targeting civilian and committing grave violations in impunity.

Turkey strongly rejects the baseless allegations of human rights violations claimed against Turkey. The issue of missing persons should be addressed from a humanitarian point of view so as to alleviate suffering of the victims. The allegations from the regime are not worth a reply, even though we categorically reject them all.

Iran (Islamic Republic of), represented by Mr. Mehdi Ali Abadi, reiterates that the council's functioning should be guided by constructive dialogue and cooperation, based on the principles of universality, objectivity, and non-selectivity. Iran fears the report has failed to adopt a balanced approach and is silent about the war crimes by occupiers and aggressors. The report also failed to highlight the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the Syrian people. Iran rejects attempts to attribute attacks on civil targets to itself and reiterates the necessity of combating terrorism in Syria, and condemns the use of the civilian population as human shields by terrorists. The council should assist Syria's efforts to relieve suffering.

Nicaragua, represented by Ms. Rosalia Concepción Bohorquez Palacios, reiterates that all nations must build friendly relations based on equal rights and respect for the charter while not interfering in countries internal affairs. The delegation does not support resolutions, mechanisms, or reports which are country specific and do not have support of the concerned country. It recalls that Syria never accepted the mandate of COI and calls the resolution politicized and nonconsensual. Nicaragua believes it is part of a systematic disinformation campaign and shows a political bias against Syria. The conclusions lack objectivity, and encourage unilateral coercive measures which run counter to human rights. HRC should condemn unilateral coercive measures.

Japan, represented by Mr. Bhatti Aziz Amuto, welcomes the report issued by COI and commissioners efforts to ensure accountability for all parties of the Syrian conflict together with IIIM and other mechanisms. The delegation is concerned by human rights violations. Japan notes two decrees by the Syrian authorities prohibiting torture and granting amnesty respectively and it awaits concrete evidence of progress following these decrees. Japan urges Syrian authorities to fulfill their promise to their own people and immediately release all prisoners of conscience and arbitrarily detained persons. It also calls on the international community to stand united and support the Syrian people and their right to life. Japan reiterates its commitment to working closely with international partners and UN envoy Peterson to solve the Syrian crisis and calls for a ceasefire, urging all parties to work towards a political solution based on UNSG resolution 2254.

Author: Joshua Newman 

Uploaded: September 23 2022


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