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US Condemns Assad Regime’s Assault on Syrian People, Calls for Immediate Access for Commission of Inquiry
June 1, 2012

Statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
at the Special Session on Syria

Human Rights Council
June 1, 2012

A woman in red speaking at a microphone
Ambassador Eileen Donahoe addressing the UNHRC Special Session on Syria

Madame President,

The United States joins with many other nations gathered here today, to demand again an end to the Asad regime’s outrageous crimes against the people of Syria.  The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the heinous slaughter of innocent men, women, and children in Houla last weekend, which killed over 100 people. The facts are clear: families were summarily executed in their own homes, with the vast majority of the victims being women and children.  To the world’s collective horror, United Nations observers confirmed the deaths of more than 30 children under the age of 10.  These close-range murders occurred while Houla endured a vicious assault involving tanks and artillery– weapons that only the regime possesses—that resulted in numerous deaths. We hold the Syrian government fully responsible for the slaughter of innocent civilians in Houla.

The Houla massacre unambiguously illustrates the regime’s depravity and contempt for international law, and clearly illustrates its continued flagrant violations of its commitments under Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043 to cease violence in all its forms, including the cessation of use of heavy weapons in population centers.  Even before the horrific massacre in Houla, the UN Secretary General reported to the Security Council that unacceptable levels of violence and abuses continue unabated.  The violence must stop, immediate access for the COI must be granted, and this despicable regime’s terrible chapter in Syria’s history must be brought to an end.

Those who committed these atrocities must be identified and held accountable.   Here, the Commission of Inquiry formed under this Council’s mandate, has an important role to play. The Syrian government must allow the Commission of Inquiry immediate and unhindered access to Syria to conduct an independent, international investigation of the Houla massacre.

Across Syria, the Syrian people bravely risk their lives daily to inform the international community about the horrendous scale of violence and suffering. No one can deny the brutal campaign of bombardment, torture, and killing that the Asad government is waging against the Syrian people.  As seen by today’s special session, and the five HRC resolutions on Syria since last April, the international community is watching and will continue to condemn Asad’s government, whose brutal rule by murder and fear will ultimately come to an end.

Madame President, we must continue to call for the Syrian regime to immediately halt its attacks on innocent civilians.  The Syrian people face murder at the hands of their own government simply because they demand respect for the universal human rights this Council exists to protect and advance.  Let us be clear today that in every corner of the world, we stand in solidarity with the Syrian people who have taken to the streets to denounce the unimaginable violence that continues to unfold each day that Bashar al Asad remains in power.