UN Human Rights Council 42n Session
Item 4 – ID with Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
17th September 2019
Intervention by ESTONIA
Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.
We value highly the report of the Commission and continue to support its important work.
We strongly condemn all violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict. Civilians continue to suffer of the effects of a general absence of the rule of law, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and other abuses. Sexual and gender based violence is still reported in alarmingly high numbers and needs to be effectively addressed. It is important to keep these situations under the scrutiny of the Human Rights Council.
We are deeply concerned about the continued military operations in Idlib by the Syrian regime and Russia, what may lead to severe humanitarian consequences, as increased violence threatens millions of civilians. We condemn the indiscriminate and deliberate attacks to schools, hospitals and other protected civilian objects, damaging essential equipment and supplies to the survival of civilian population, in spite of UN deconfliction mechanism. Such attacs are a blatant violation of international law and may amount to the war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is vital to uphold the ceasefire in Idlib in order to prevent further escalation and humanitarian catastrophe. This instability may also harm the prospects for a meaningful political process, one that is of utmost importance to reestablish peace and stability.
Estonia is deeply concerned about the dire conditions of civilians living in Al-Hol and Rukban camps, especially women and children, who have limited access to food, medicine and other life-saving supplies. It has caused hundreds of preventable deaths, especially among young children, women and girls have been affected disproportionally by rampant sexual and gender-based violence. Estonia calls upon all warring parties to guarantee protection of civilians and unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to all vulnerable population.
We call on all parties involved to cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council and the Commission of Inquiry by granting the Commission immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic. We remain supportive of the need to refer the situation of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).