I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.
The conflict in Syria, which has lasted more than a decade, has caused enormous human suffering and widespread violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. A political process in line with UNSCR 2254 is the only way forward to finding a lasting peace and stability in Syria.
We notice with regret the lack of substantive progress in the political process. The so-called Presidential elections held in May this year were neither free nor fair, did not represent the will of the Syrian people and were not in line with Resolution 2254.
The CoI-report highlights that over the past 10 years, grave crimes, violations and abuses have been committed by the parties to the conflict, including acts which may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. These acts have taken place with almost absolute impunity, perpetrators have not been held accountable. Millions have been displaced, nearly half a million have perished, tens of thousands remain arbitrarily detained or missing in Syria, including those subject to enforced disappearance. We remain deeply concerned by the terrible scale of grave violations committed against women and children during the conflict.
The dire humanitarian situation requires our continued support to the people in Syria. All modalities to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to all people in need in Syria are necessary. Cross-line deliveries still remain limited and do not meet growing humanitarian needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore imperative that the Security Council extends and expands the mandate for humanitarian cross-border access for humanitarian assistance in the coming days. A failure to extend the Security Council´s authorization for the cross-border operations would disrupt life-saving assistance to millions of people whom are among the most vulnerable.
A lasting and sustained nationwide ceasefire is needed to provide a path to a broad and inclusive political transition and to national reconciliation. Impunity must end and the respect for human rights for the people in Syria must be restored.
Commissioners; in view of the protracted conflict, we must remain committed to finding a sustainable and just peace in Syria. What is – in your opinion – the best way forward to ensure justice and accountability for the Syrian people?