Statement of the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 37
Geneva, March 13, 2018
Thank you Mr. Vice President,
The depth of depravity to which the Syrian government and its backers will sink is unfathomable. We need look no further than in Eastern Ghouta to see the shameless extents to which they will go to maintain the autocratic rule of a man who long ago lost any legitimacy to govern. Doctors Without Borders reported that from February 18 to March 3, more than 1,000 were killed and nearly 5,000 were wounded. Russia, one of the Syrian government’s strongest backers, has not only failed to follow through on delivering adherence to resolution 2401, but continues to conduct airstrikes in Ghouta with its own air force.
The UN reported that the Syrian authorities removed seventy percent of the life-saving medical supplies from the first aid convoy to reach the area in weeks, with many of the remaining supplies unable to be offloaded due to constant shelling. It carried assistance for over 27,000 people. The Assad regime, along with its backers in Moscow and Tehran, should adhere to resolution 2401, cease hostilities, and allow unfettered humanitarian access, in particular in Easter Ghouta, where nearly 400,000 innocent civilians are in critical need.
Sickening reports continue of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons, arbitrary detention, and torture. We must continue to support the Commission of Inquiry. It is a key tool for investigating egregious human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, of which the Syrian government once again remains the primary perpetrator.
We highlight the Commission’s focus on victims’ demands for justice. The United States will continue working with partners to promote accountability for all those responsible and provide justice for victims.
Seven years ago, the Syrian government chose to mete out torture and death in response to Syrians’ peaceful demands for their rights and freedoms. Unimaginable suffering ensued, leading to the displacement of millions of people and the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Through it all, no side has caused more death and suffering than the Syrian government.
Commissioners, can you share information on the specific military units of the Syria government and their allies that you assess have committed atrocities against civilians in eastern Ghouta and other besieged areas?
Our full statement will be posted online.