Norway welcomes the delegation of Syria and would like to thank the delegation for the presentation of their national report.
The human rights situation in Syria continues to deteriorate in spite of sustained international protest against President Assad and his government. The number of protesters reported to be killed, arbitrarily arrested and abused by the Security Forces is steadily increasing. Human rights defenders are particularly targeted. The relentless Government crackdown has resulted in tremendous human and social costs on Syrian society and poses a grave threat to the future of the country.
Political prisoners are systematically exposed to ill-treatment and torture in overcrowded and often improvised detention facilities. Thousands of families live without knowledge of the fate or whereabouts of their detained relatives. On the streets, large numbers of wounded protesters exercising their rights to expression and assembly are prevented from using official medical facilities and neutral doctors are intimidated into inactivity by the Syrian security forces and its affiliated militias.
Recent reports also tell of systematic monitoring and harassment of Syrian protesters outside of Syria by agents believed to be acting on behalf of the Syrian regime.
The reform programme launched by President Assad has not convinced the protesters and the larger population of any credible intent to deliver real democratic reform in Syria. On the contrary, the Syrian Government has tightened restrictions on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and mandated the security forces to escalate their ruthless campaign. By continuing to ignore demands for change, the Government is steering Syria further towards an uncertain future.
There are no exceptions to the legal responsibility of the Syrian authorities for its brutal military campaign towards its own population. Unlawful acts of violence on the scale observed in Syria must not go unpunished. The responsible must be held accountable.
On this background, Norway recommends the following:
1. An immediate end to the violence against peaceful protesters, including human rights defenders, and to hold those responsible for such acts accountable.
2. That the Syrian Government takes immediate steps to stop the arrests of human rights defenders and political dissidents in accordance with Syria’s international human rights obligations.
3. The immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained.
4. An immediate end to all acts of torture and to hold accountable those responsible for such acts.
5. That the Syrian Government, without restrictions, allows for unhindered access for neutral observers and humanitarian actors to the country.
6. That the Syrian Government fully cooperates with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry as established under Human Rights Council resolution S-17/1.