Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
Human Rights Council – 53rd Session
Thank you, Mr. President.
Commissioners, thank you for your ongoing and still very urgent work. In Syria, as reported by the COI, OHCHR, and civil society, the regime continues to subject Syrians returning from abroad to abuses, including but not limited to forced conscription, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, including rape, confiscation of property, and intimidation. We cannot turn our attention away.
Conditions in Syria are not in place for a safe, dignified, and voluntary return of refugees. We urge all states to uphold the principle of non-refoulement.
Despite the regime’s claims of welcoming Syrians return, the reality is quite the opposite, with the regime accusing returnees of treason and support for terrorism and subjecting returnees to human rights violations and abuses.
Returnees are targeted due to their place of origin, for having left Syria, or for filing an asylum claim abroad.
Syrian women returnees are especially vulnerable given the discriminatory nature of Syria’s laws.
Despite the risks and challenges, Syrian women lead the charge on addressing the fate of the 155,000 missing and unjustly detained persons in Syria, a protracted issue that contributes to unsafe conditions for returnees.
We commend Syrian civil society and Luxembourg’s leadership in working to establish a new institution to determine the fate of missing persons and support survivors.
Commissioners, what are the unique barriers and abuses faced by Syrian women when they return to Syria?
I thank you.