Interactive Dialogue on the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 21, 2016
The United States welcomes the on-going critical work of the Commission of Inquiry. We also strongly support the May 17 ISSG statement’s request for UN Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura to facilitate agreements between the Syrian parties for the release of detainees and the call for any party holding detainees to protect the health and safety of those in their custody.
The Syrian regime continues to imprison tens of thousands of Syrians – including women, children, doctors, humanitarian aid providers, human rights defenders, and journalists – subjecting many to torture, sexual violence, and denial of fair trials. We reiterate the many calls from UN bodies for the Syrian government to cease its egregious abuses against prisoners and disappeared persons, allow for immediate unfettered access to all detainees, provide a list of detention facilities, allow for medical services for all detainees, and release arbitrarily detained persons, including women, and children. We urge all parties to act consistent with all relevant UN resolutions.
The United States strongly condemns ongoing abuses by Daesh, such as the sale and enslavement of and sexual violence against women and children, including from Iraq’s Yezidi community. We also call for the immediate release of all women and children held captive by Daesh. The international community stands united and undeterred in its resolve to bring an end to Daesh. We support continued UN reporting to gather, analyze, secure, and preserve evidence of the crimes committed by Daesh, including crimes of sexual violence and enslavement.
We must not forget what the Syrian people will always remember: Asad and his allies have, from the very beginning, been by far the primary perpetrators of killing, torture, and deprivation in this war; and the primary magnet drawing foreign fighters to Syria, emboldening Daesh.
Question: Does the COI plan to provide further papers and reporting addressing sexual and gender based violence?