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Human Rights Council 35: Statement of Introduction for Resolution on Syria

This UK statement was delivered at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council to introduce the Syria Resolution on 23 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 presents this resolution on the human rights situation in Syria on behalf of a group of states: France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK and the US.

The human rights situation in Syria remains acute, as carefully detailed by the Commission of Inquiry. It is vital that the Human Rights Council continues to take a strong and unified stance on Syria.

The number of human rights violations and abuses in Syria remain horrifically commonplace. As the High Commissioner himself has said, the Syria conflict is the worst man-made disaster the world has seen since the Second World War.

We are gravely concerned about indiscriminate attacks and the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure. The Assad regime, Daesh, and foreign fighters, must stop the bloodshed. We also continue to see the obstruction of humanitarian aid, and forced displacement of civilians, in particular by the Syrian regime.

It is the people of Syria who are forced to bear the devastating impact of the continued fighting, atrocities and destruction. There must be accountability for crimes committed and it is for these reasons that we support strongly the Commission of Inquiry and International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

We have consulted colleagues extensively on this text which calls on all parties to respect human rights and comply with international law. The text also expresses concern at the alarming number of attacks on protected infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. These attacks are not only serious violations of international law, but are cowardly acts of aggression against the sick, injured, young children and other groups who are most in need of protection and assistance.

We cannot let the people of Syria down after more than 6 years of sad and brutal conflict.

This resolution deserves the broadest support within the Council and we hope it can be adopted by consensus.

Published 23 June 2017