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HRC44: Nordic countries address the continued dire human rights situation in Syria

Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry
on the Syrian Arab Republic
44th session of the Human Rights Council
July 14 2020
Joint Statement by the Nordic Countries

Mr President,
I am honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

We welcome the report by the Commission of Inquiry but are alarmed by the picture of the suffering of the Syrian people it presents. The atrocities documented in Idlib show a blatant disregard for international law by all parties, especially the regime. We condemn the unacceptable attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and are particularly appalled by the deliberate attacks of pro-regime forces on medical personnel and facilities. International law, including humanitarian law, and human rights must be respected at all times.

We must all insist on accountability for crimes committed. We reaffirm our strong support for the Commission of Inquiry and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

We are relieved by the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2533, but regret that the Council has decided to further limit the scope of the existing mechanism. We are gravely concerned about the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a dire economy, and the reported looming famine. All parties, in particular the Syrian regime and its allies, must cease all hostilities and ensure protection of civilians and humanitarian access.

There is no military solution to the conflict. We reiterate our full support for Special Envoy Pedersen and a political settlement in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254. We urge the Syrian regime and its allies to engage genuinely in the UN-facilitated process.

Let me finally ask if the Commission could share any updates on the use of torture and arbitrary detention in Syria?
Thank you.