This statement was delivered during the Interactive Dialogue with UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights voilations in Syria on 14 March 2017.
The UK thanks the Independent Commission of Inquiry (COI) for their latest report on the terrible events, amounting to war crimes, in Aleppo last year. It highlights the appalling suffering of the civilian population in eastern Aleppo caused by the regime and its backers, through their tactics of siege, starvation and relentless indiscriminate bombardment. The regime continues to use these tactics, including in Eastern Ghouta. The report underlines the urgent need to strengthen the ceasefire and open up humanitarian access to prevent yet more innocent civilians suffering.
We commend the COI’s ongoing efforts in documenting and calling out all parties on their violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law. We encourage Member States to support the renewal of the COI’s mandate and call for the COI to have unhindered access to the Syrian Arab Republic. We welcome the establishment of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) and encourage Member States to support it. We hope that, by working closely together, the COI and IIIM will ensure that all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Syria will be held to account.
Ultimately, we need to see a negotiated political transition that breaks the cycle of suffering and ends this conflict, which enters into its seventh year tomorrow. In the meantime, the UK will continue to work with international partners to support the people of Syria.
Professor Pinheiro, could you please tell us what were the findings of the CoI concerning the attack on the UN humanitarian convoy at Urem al-Kubra in September 2016?