UN Human Rights Council 40th Session

UN Human Rights Council 40th Session
Item 4 – ID with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
12 March 2019

Intervention by ESTONIA

Mr. President,

Estonia aligns itself with the EU statement. We commend the Commission of Inquiry for its work and note with regret that the Commission’s investigations remain curtailed by the denial of access to the Syrian Arab Republic.

According to the Commission’s last report, demilitarized buffer zone agreement for Idlib led to a significant decrease in tensions. However, the hostilities continued in several parts of the country, causing severe impact to civilians and civilian casualties. After eight years of prolonged conflict, civilians countrywide still suffer the effects of a general absence of the rule of law. The report has brought out the flagrant abuse of military power by all parties to the conflict, including numerous cases of abductions, arbitrary arrests, detention and enforced disappearance leading to the custodial deaths of thousands of civilians. Estonia underlines the need to immediate disclosure of the fates of detained, disappeared and missing individuals, as well as release of arbitrarily detained persons, particularly women and children.

6.2 million internally displaced persons still suffer the exceptionally dire conditions in makeshift camps, especially in Rukban. Now more than ever, it is critically important to end human suffering in Syria and to ensure unhindered and safe access of humanitarian assistance to ease civilian suffering.

We agree with the Commission that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the war crimes have been committed in the Syrian Arab Republic. Therefore, we call on all parties involved in the conflict to cooperate fully with the international, impartial and independent mechanism (IIIM) and grant full access to its territory. Furthermore, we call on the Syrian Arab Republic to cooperate with the OPCW to resolve all outstanding concerns regarding chemical weapons in expedited manner. We thank the OHCHR and the Commission for continued remote monitoring of human rights violations in Syria and remain supportive of the need to refer the situation of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Thank you.