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U.S. Welcomes Critical Work of Commission of Inquiry on Syria
March 14, 2017

Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

Statement of the United States of America
As Delivered by William J. Mozdzierz,
Head of the U. S. Delegation

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 14, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States welcomes the critical work of the Commission of Inquiry.  We commend its recent report on Aleppo.

The Syrian conflict has caused terrible suffering, but no side has caused more death and suffering than the Syrian government.  To list all of the violations and abuses committed by the government, and the Iran-recruited, supported, and trained militias that increasingly make up its ground forces, would require infinitely more time than we have here today.  They include the deaths of more than 100,000 people, including countless women and children.  According to Physicians for Human Rights, those killed by the Syrian government and its allies include 713 medical personnel.  According to Amnesty International, that number also includes as many as 13,000 people hanged at the Saydnaya prison as part of the Syrian government’s practice of committing extrajudicial executions and torture.

Extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda linked Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Nusrah, also continue to commit appalling abuses, including rape and murder.

The United States applauds the courageous Syrian human rights defenders, activists, and civilians who risk their lives to document atrocities, to share findings with the international community, and to continue reminding those responsible for atrocities that they will be held to account.

The Commission continues to provide some of the most important information and analyses on violations and abuses committed by all sides in the conflict.  We call on all members of the Council to support the renewal of its mandate.  We also look forward to its cooperation going forward with the newly established International, Independent, and Impartial Mechanism.

We ask the Commission to please elaborate on how you intend to continue investigating the grave situation in Syrian detention centers, such as was detailed in the recent Amnesty International report.

(end statement)