Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 19th Session
Delivered by Casey L. Addis
Thank you, Madame President.
The United States thanks the commission of inquiry on Syria for its exceptional reporting on the ongoing human rights crisis there and welcomes its most recent report.
The Assad regime’s brutal killings, torture, and indiscriminate bombings continue day after day after day in Syria. For months a living nightmare and humanitarian disaster has become part of daily life throughout Syria, particularly in Homs and Hama. Even women and children have been targeted for arrest, torture, and enforced disappearances. Some of the most appalling images we have seen over the past year have involved the horrific torture and murder of children.
The commission of inquiry’s report makes these facts unmistakably clear. And it is equally clear that the Assad government bears responsibility for these gross human rights violations. We take seriously the commission’s findings that “gross human rights violations were conducted pursuant to a policy of the State,” and that the regime’s “forces have committed widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations, amounting to crimes against humanity, with the apparent knowledge and consent of the highest levels of the State.”
We commend the commission for its meticulous work identifying specific security agencies, army units, and individuals who may be responsible for those acts. It is of utmost importance that the mandate of the commission of inquiry is extended so it can continue its work documenting violations and collecting evidence to assist in holding accountable those who are responsible for these violations.
We urge all states to assist the Syrian people in their time of need, and call on those states that are obstructing international action to join the international community in its collective efforts to halt the violence perpetrated by the Assad government and support the Syrian people.
The way forward is clear, and it has been affirmed and reaffirmed by the international community several times: there must be an immediate halt to the violence; safe access for humanitarian relief; a negotiated, peaceful, and inclusive solution; and a transition to an open democracy.
That transition must begin now, and Assad must leave and let the people of Syria continue on their path toward building a brighter future for their country. The United States and our international partners will continue to support the Syrian people toward that goal.
The government of Syria’s cruelty must be confronted for the sake of justice and human dignity. Any government that brutalizes and massacres its people does not deserve to govern. The Assad regime has long lost its legitimacy to remain in power. It is our duty to speak that truth loudly and clearly and repeatedly until the Syrian people have their freedom.
How can the international community aid the people of Syria in documenting human rights violations for purposes of accountability?
Thank you, Madame President.