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Human Rights Council 35: Commission of Inquiry on Syria

This UK statement was delivered at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council during Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria on 14 June 2017.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK thanks the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria for its vital work highlighting the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation. We condemn in the strongest possible terms all human rights violations and abuses that continue to take place in Syria, in particular at the hands of the Syrian authorities and Daesh.

The regime has continued to terrorise civilians with aerial bombardments and ‘starve or surrender’ sieges, and to increase their suffering through removing medical items from aid convoys and attacking medical facilities. As UNICEF has reported, children are paying a heavy price, with 2016 being the deadliest year so far in terms of child deaths.

The horrifying chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaikhoun killed over 70 people and injured many more. We are almost certain that the Asad regime carried out the attack. We strongly support the impartial, expert investigations by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism. Our goal is to work with the rest of the international community to ensure that the shocking events of 4 April are never repeated.

We are appalled at recent reports of a crematorium at the regime’s Sadnaya prison being used to dispose of the bodies of possibly thousands of detainees. We reiterate our calls for the regime to release illegally held detainees and to allow impartial humanitarian actors access to its detention centres.

We call on all parties to the conflict to comply with international human rights law and international humanitarian law; to protect civilians, especially children; and to work for a political solution to end this suffering.

Published 14 June 2017