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HRC32: Intervention by the Nordic countries on Item 4, Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Human Rights Council
 Item 4
 Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
 21 June 2016.  Intervention by the Nordic countries
 Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries; Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.

We thank Mr. Pinheiro for the oral update. The Nordic countries strongly support the independent work of the Commission. We urge the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with the Commission and grant it unhindered access to the country.

We condemn in the strongest terms the continued abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Syria. The Syrian regime's systematic targeting of civilians and civilian objects, including schools and medical facilities must stop. We urge all parties to the conflict to respect international law, including humanitarian law and human rights.

We note the latest progress made in reaching some of the besieged areas in Syria, but continue to urge the Syrian regime and all parties to the conflict to grant full humanitarian access throughout the country, in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law. The use of starvation of civilians for which the Syrian regime bears the greatest responsibility is totally unacceptable.

We call on all parties and the Syrian Regime in particular to cease hostilities immediately to enable the resumption of the UN-led process in Geneva and efforts towards a political solution. The Nordic countries fully support the UN's mediation efforts led by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. Ensuring women's meaningful participation in the political process is key for building sustainable peace.

A peace process needs to be accompanied by justice. Those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity or other violations or abuses must be held accountable. We call on the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

The Commission has commendably paid attention to gender-related aspects of the conflict and how women pay a heavy toll for it. It has also given examples of women taking leadership as a result of the conflict's tragedy and indicated that this renewed agency of women could underpin the recovery of a post-conflict Syria. Mr. Pinheiro, how can the international community best support women to continue to empower themselves in the dire situation they live in?

Thank you.