I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.
Firstly, let me thank Mr Pinheiro for his oral update and the hard and tireless work of the Commission of Inquiry.
Despite reduction of violence in certain areas of Syria, the parties to the conflict continue to wage war in ways that violate international humanitarian law and human rights with horrific consequences for civilians, in particular women and children.
We strongly condemn the Syrian regime’s and its allies’ deliberate targeting of the civilian population and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and humanitarian aid structures. We also condemn the use of chlorine bombs, cluster munitions and other prohibited weapons by regime forces. Deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against a civilian population constitute a war crime and we call on all parties, including armed anti-regime groups, to abide by the ceasefire and avoid all indiscriminate and deliberate attacks against civilians.
The Commission has several times reported on how women are particularly affected. We condemn the systematic use by the Syrian regime of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence in detention. Likewise, Daesh use of sexual slavery of Yazidi women is particularly abhorrent and has been described by the Commission as part of the crime of genocide.
What can the Commission do further to examine how women are affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria?
Justice and accountability for violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law need to be part of any durable peace in Syria. The Nordic countries reiterate their support of theInternational, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) and welcome continued co-operation with the Commission of Inquiry and other mechanisms seeking to promote accountability in Syria.
We call on the guarantors of the ceasefire agreed in Astana to pursue the implementation of their commitments. An effective ceasefire, which is properly monitored, followed by unhindered humanitarian access and the release of all arbitrarily detained persons, would help build trust and thereby contribute to the UN-led political process aimed at securing a genuine political transition in line with UNSRC 2254.
We also renew our call on the Syrian regime to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry.
Thank you, Mr. President.