48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry
on the Syrian Arab Republic
Nordic – Baltic Statement. Delivered by Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi, Permanent Representative of Finland
23 September 2021
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The Commission of Inquiry has our unwavering support.
Over the past year, the human rights situation continued to worsen for many Syrians. We are deeply concerned by the Commission’s findings of widespread and systematic violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law committed across the country. They include indiscriminate attacks on civilians, arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, targeted killings, torture and sexual and gender-based violence. In particular, we are concerned by the increased levels of violence in various parts of Syria during the reporting period.
The indiscriminate shelling and restrictions on movement of civilians during the recent violence in Daraa is a reminder that the violations and abuses continue. A safe and stable environment in Syria is needed for the sustainable and dignified return of 6.8 million Syrian refugees and the 6.7 million internally displaced.
The increased levels of violence exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation. Limited access to water, food and medicine is of particular concern. The recurring disruptions in the water distribution of Alouk water station are concerning. It serves as a lifeline providing directly or indirectly clean drinking water to around one million people. Access to safe drinking water is, in addition to sanitation and hygiene, integral in supporting the fragile public health of North-East Syria, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
All parties must fulfil their human rights and international humanitarian law obligations. Impunity must be addressed for justice to prevail. International humanitarian and human rights organisations must gain unhindered access in every part of the country.
We continue to fully support the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). Its work is crucial for efforts towards accountability.
We reaffirm our support to the UN Special Envoy for Syria. We also reiterate our call for all parties to meaningfully engage in a political settlement in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254.
Commissioners: what needs to be done to ensure unhindered access of the humanitarian and human rights organisations in every part of the country?