UN Human Rights Council 44th Session – Item 4: ID with COI Syrian Arab Republic – Intervention by ESTONIA – 14 July 2020

Thank you Madame President.

Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

As we witness the 10th year of the human tragedy in Syria, the civilians continue to suffer from widespread violence and the effects of a general absence of the rule of law. Military operations by the Syrian regime and its backers, including Russia, have led to massive displacement and severe humanitarian consequences in Syria. The use of chemical weapons, indiscriminate and deliberate attacks against schools and hospitals, arbitrary detentions and deliberate obstructions on the delivery of humanitarian aid are just few examples of the widespread violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Syria. As the CoI report underlines, many of these acts amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Madame President,

Estonia welcomes the adoption of the resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Security Council, echoing the call of the Secretary-General for a global ceasefire. Estonia, as a member of the UN Security Council, is committed to ensuring the implementation of this resolution in all armed conflicts, including in Syria. There is no alternative to fight effectively the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial that all warring parties in Syria engage in a durable ceasefire, guarantee the protection of civilians and enable the unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all people in need.

Estonia’s priority in the Security Council has been to maintain the cross-border humanitarian mechanism, in order to facilitate the access of humanitarian aid to millions of civilians in Syria. However, this compromise was not easy to come. Instead of standing up to protect humanitarian principles, Russia pursued its political and military objectives in Syria, resulting in a situation where, instead of four crossings half a year ago, we have only one crossing today. We condemn this kind of irresponsible playing with human lives in Syria.

To conclude, Estonia calls on all parties in Syria to commit to sustained peace and a political solution in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 2254, in order to avoid further human suffering and ensure fair and just society in Syria. We remain supportive of the need to refer the situation of Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Thank you!