Item 4: Resolution Entitled “The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” A/HRC/28/L.6
General Comment by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 28th Session
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Geneva, March 27, 2015
The United States is pleased to co-sponsor the resolution on “the continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic” and urges all members to support it.
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.
The Commission of Inquiry has described continued atrocities by the Asad regime, including those involving systematic attacks on civilians, restriction of humanitarian assistance, torture, and the detention and disappearance of civilians on the basis of their associations. Extremist groups also continue to commit widespread human rights abuses. The COI has assessed that in many instances, the Asad regime and non-state actors have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United States condemns atrocities committed by all sides.
Let us not forget the aims of the peaceful protesters in March 2011, who called for the end of torture and demanded respect for human rights. We deplore the growing suffering and torture in detention centers throughout Syria, as the COI’s reports have depicted. We reiterate our calls for the immediate release of jailed human rights defenders, including Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, as well as the release of human rights activists abducted by anti-government armed groups, including Razan Zeitouneh, founder of the Violations Documentation Center.
The COI, despite denials of access, continues to provide critical reporting on the ongoing gross violations and abuses in Syria. The United States strongly supports the renewal of the COI’s mandate and urges other states to do so as well.
We also applaud the courageous Syrian human rights defenders who, despite the grave risks, continue to document atrocities committed by all sides and share their findings with the international community. United with the Syrian community and the international community, we reiterate our call, for an immediate end to all violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, especially those egregious, widespread, and continued violations committed by the Asad regime.
The United States supports the text as presented, and urges all members to reject the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 13. That list of militia groups, whose participation in the conflict in Syria has exacerbated the situation there, has previously appeared in Syria resolutions at this Council and at the UN General Assembly, and those groups have also been named by the COI in its reporting. We urge all member states to vote “NO” on that proposed amendment and “YES” on the resolution as presented.
Thank you Mr. President