Thank you, Mr Pinheiro, Commissioners,
The United Kingdom reiterates its support for the important work of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria. We are grateful for the Commission’s update and latest report on Eastern Ghouta, which rightly draws attention to the terrible suffering of civilians trapped in the formerly besieged enclave. The report is clear that pro-regime forces committed war crimes, including systemically targeting hospitals. It was right that this Council responded in March, and it is vital that the Council and the Commission continue to shine a light on the atrocities committed in Syria.
The UK condemns all human rights abuses and violations in the strongest possible terms and is committed to ensuring accountability for the horrendous crimes being committed on a daily basis in Syria. We were pleased to hear in March of the close cooperation now formalised between the Commission and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism. Both mechanisms provide vital accountability functions and we urge Member States to actively support them.
The UK deplores all uses of chemical weapons and strongly condemns the attack in Duma in April. We are concerned by the introduction of Law 10. This builds on a package of laws that undermines prospects for the millions of Syrians displaced by the conflict to return to their homes, jeopardising long-term stability in the region.
A political settlement is the only way to bring an end to the appalling suffering endured by the people of Syria. It is vital that women have a credible role in that process, and we welcome the Special Envoy’s efforts on this issue. We call on all parties to the conflict to engage constructively in the UN-led political process.
Will the Commission focus on housing, land and property rights in its upcoming reports?