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U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Syria
October 31, 2016

U.S. Statement at the Universal Periodic Review of Syria

As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council

Geneva, Switzerland
26th Session, October 31, 2016


 Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States remains appalled by the human rights situation in Syria.  Bearing in mind our numerous concerns, we recommend that Syria:

  1. Cease violence against civilians immediately and enter into good faith negotiations on a political solution to the conflict;
  2. Grant unfettered access for humanitarian assistance, including to besieged and hard-to-reach areas;
  3. Cease egregious abuses against prisoners; allow for immediate, unfettered access to and medical services for all detainees; and release Syrians who have been arbitrarily imprisoned and held without trial.

Since the 2011 uprising began, the government has continued to engage in flagrant violations and abuses.  UN Special Envoy de Mistura has stated that 400,000 people have been killed.

The UN Commission of Inquiry has documented unconscionable atrocities against men, women and children, including what it describes as: the regime’s systematic and deliberate targeting of civilians, medical facilities, and health care providers; restrictions of humanitarian assistance to besieged and hard to reach areas; torture; mass arrests; arbitrary detention and disappearance of civilians; and deaths in State-controlled detention facilities.

We reiterate our call for an immediate end to all violations and abuses, as well as accountability for perpetrators of them, especially the egregious, widespread, and continued violations committed by the Asad regime.  It is the regime’s brutal suppression of democratic opposition forces and atrocities that allow terrorist groups like Da’esh to flourish.