Madame President, distinguished members of the Commission of Inquiry.
I make this statement on behalf of Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. We thank the Commission for its latest report and highly appreciate this opportunity for dialogue.
We remain deeply concerned with the deteriorating situation in Syria. The increasing violence and mounting civilian casualties are extremely worrisome. Unacceptable human rights violations and abuses are being committed by all sides to the conflict. We stress however, that the Syrian Government carries the main responsibility.
The alarming situation highlights the particular vulnerability of women and girls. We call on all parties to take special measures to protect women and girls from sexual violence and assault in accordance with Security Council resolution 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security.
The Nordic countries continue to support a strong UN engagement in the efforts to facilitate a solution to the crisis. We must focus on achieving a peaceful transition and reconciliation process in the post-Assad period. We stress that a new Syria must be home for all Syrians without discrimination, regardless of ethnic origin, gender or religion or belief.
Evidence suggests that international crimes, including crimes against humanity, are being committed in Syria. As part of a transition process, those responsible for abuses and serious human rights violations, including international crimes, must be held accountable.
As we see a continued escalation of the conflict, it is absolutely imperative that the Commission be allowed to continue its important work. We therefore support an extension of the commission’s mandate. We once again call on the Syrian government to allow the Commission full and unfettered access to the country.
We would like to direct the following questions to the members of the Commission:
- You recommend that appropriate action is taken in view of the gravity of the crimes committed - can you elaborate on this point? In particular, to what extent are you aware of ongoing efforts inside Syria to hold perpetrators accountable?
- Could you elaborate on how the Commission works and coordinates with other initiatives and organizations involved in the field of human rights documentation, including the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre?
- What measures are being taken to raise with concerned parties the issue of protection of women and girls from sexual violence?