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HRC31: Nordic statement on Item 4, Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, 14 March 2016

HRC31: Nordic countries stress need for accountability in statement on Syria during ID with UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria


Human Rights Council 31st Session
Item 4
Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry
on the Syrian Arab Republic
14 March 2016

Intervention by the Nordic countries

Mr. President,
I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.
We would like to begin by underlining our strong support to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. We thank the Commission for its dedicated work and its latest report that once again provides disturbing evidence of the horrific atrocities committed by parties to the Syrian conflict. We strongly condemn the gross human rights violations and abuses, some of which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We are especially concerned by the regime’s continued gross and systematic human rights violations. The bombings and targeting of civilian areas and structures is unacceptable. In its report, the Commission describes the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians and flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Those responsible for such appalling crimes must be held accountable and we urge the international community to stand united to prevent impunity and bring the perpetrators to justice.

We want to highlight the urgency to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. We therefore fully support the ongoing UN-led process coordinated by UNSE Staffan de Mistura and the full implementation of UNSCR 2254 and 2268. As part of the political process, we would like to reassert the principle that the perpetrators must be held to account. The Nordic countries will continue to work for this objective.

We strongly share the Commission’s view that Syrian women must participate fully in political negotiations and demand that they be granted a seat at the table, in line with Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions. With the prevalence of religious extremism within so many parties to the conflict, women and men clearly have a lot at stake in shaping the future of their country to be able to safeguard human rights and ensure that any solution takes into account all interests.

We also support the Commission’s efforts to identify crimes and welcome any steps that can lead to a prosecution of those individuals responsible for the crimes committed in Syria, including referral to the ICC by the Security Council. We also call on the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility and halt the bloodshed in Syria. The Syrian regime has consistently denied the Commission access to its territory and we urge the regime to grant unfettered and independent access to its entire territory.

Finally, in the light of the Nordic countries’ common goal to strengthen the human rights of women and girls, we would like to ask the Commission what steps it could take to further develop its use of gender disaggregated data in its reporting.
Thank you, Mr President.