Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 19th Session
Delivered by Charles O. Blaha
The United States remains appalled by the continually worsening human rights situation in Syria. Given our commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process, we appreciate that many states reflected in their October 2011 recommendations the absolute and immediate need to cease the use of lethal violence against civilians. Since that time, the Syrian government has only engaged in even more flagrant violations of international human rights law, and the blatant, willful disregard of the international community’s strong statements, including those made in this process.
Syrian government forces have brutally cracked down against Syrians who courageously expressed basic demands that their universal human rights and personal dignity be respected, with the crackdown resulting in the killing of more than 7,500 civilians.
The Syrian national report stated that freedom is a sacred right guaranteed by the constitution, but even as we speak, the Syrian people continue to suffer indiscriminate bombardment by heavy artillery, mass arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture, and targeted killing of civilians. To compound the suffering, the government obstructs the provision of essential humanitarian assistance. A government that fails to respect the will of its people, that denies their human rights , and that chooses to rule through terror and intimidation cannot be considered legitimate and must step aside immediately.
We again call on the Government of Syria to end violations of international human rights law immediately, including all violence against peaceful protestors, political activists, and their families. Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience.
Expeditiously permit unrestricted access within Syria to international humanitarian missions, human rights observers – including the HRC Commission of Inquiry, and media. And allow a Syrian-led transition to take place that will initiate changes in laws and lead to the formation of an inclusive and representative government that adheres to the rule of law and upholds the rights of members of religious and ethnic minorities.