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U.S. Urges Renewal of Mandate of Syria Commission of Inquiry
March 28, 2014

Item 4:  Resolution Entitled “The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” A/HRC/25/L.7

Statement of Introduction by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Paula Schriefer
Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014

The U.S. strongly supports the resolution on “the continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic” and urges all members to vote in favor of it.

In addition to the extension of the Commission of Inquiry and other elements the other co-sponsors have laid out, the resolution calls attention to the desperate humanitarian situation inside Syria.  Reliable access for humanitarian workers to reach those in need is urgent.  The resolution stresses the need for full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2139 and condemns the regime’s starvation campaign.  There has been no significant progress in the implementation of UNSCR 2139.  As the Secretary-General states in his report, “humanitarian access in Syria remains extremely challenging . . . and delivering lifesaving items remains difficult.”  Since the unanimous adoption of resolution 2139, 200 people have been killed daily, 220,000 people remain besieged, and the regime has continued its ruthless aerial, indiscriminate bombardment campaign.

We remain gravely concerned about the Asad regime’s continued detention of tens of thousands of Syrians – including women, children, doctors, humanitarian aid providers, human rights defenders, journalists, and civilians from opposition controlled areas.  They are subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and extrajudicial killings.  The resolution condemns these violations and calls for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained persons, improvement in prison conditions, and access for independent monitors, including the Commission of Inquiry.

This tragic chapter in Syria’s history began over three years ago with the Asad regime’s decision to meet peaceful protests with violence.  We reiterate our call, united with the Syrian people and members of the international community, for an immediate end to all violations of human rights and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, especially those egregious, widespread and continued violations committed by the Asad regime.

There must be accountability for these crimes.  We appeal to all members of this Council to vote in favor of this resolution and the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, so it may continue to provide objective, balanced reporting on the appalling human rights situation in Syria.  With the passage of this resolution, the Human Rights Council continues to fulfill the important role of drawing global attention to the atrocities taking place in Syria and collecting the evidence necessary to ensure future accountability for these acts.