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U.S. Statement at the HRC on Syria
July 2, 2015

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America to the UN Human Rights Council

July 2, 2015

The U.S. welcomes the resolution on “The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic” and urges all members to vote yes.  By passing this resolution, the Human Rights Council will continue to fulfill the important role of drawing global attention to the atrocities taking place in Syria at the hands of the Syrian regime and extremist groups.  The United States strongly supports justice and accountability for the Syrian people and welcomes the continued robust attention to this crisis at the Council.

The Commission of Inquiry (COI), despite repeated denial of access, continues to provide critical reporting on the ongoing gross violations and abuses in Syria. In their most recent report, the COI rightly calls attention to the Syrian regime’s use of barrel bombs against Syria’s people and cities.  The regime’s relentless bombing is causing the deaths of thousands, including children, doctors, teachers, and devastating schools, bakeries, hospitals, and market places.

As noted in the resolution we strongly condemn sexual violence and torture taking place in detention centers throughout Syria.  We recall the COI’s reporting on the torture particularly in the regime’s military prisons and hospitals.  We call on the regime to release all arbitrarily detained persons including jailed human rights defenders, such as Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.

We welcome the COI’s call for accountability and justice.  The international community should do more than solely condemn ongoing abuses.  We must be responsive to the needs of released political prisoners and torture survivors.  We must collectively recognize the need for psychological and other types of support for victims.  We strongly support the courageous Syrian human rights defenders who, despite the grave risks, continue to document atrocities committed by all sides.

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 the egregious, widespread and continued violations committed by the Asad regime. We urge continued support to UN Special Envoy de Mistura’s efforts to promote a political solution based on the Geneva Communique.