As delivered by Minister Renne Klinge, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
We thank the Commission for its report and dedicated work.
The abuses and violations of international human rights and violations of humanitarian law in Syria are appalling. Although the violence has reduced, civilians are still suffering and deliberately targeted by, in particular, the Syrian regime, its allies, ISIL/Daesh but also by armed opposition groups. The continued use of sieges and blocking of humanitarian aid to force surrender is deeply concerning and results in forced displacement.
We strongly condemn the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and humanitarian aid structures, and the use of chemical weapons. It is unacceptable that too many Syrian children cannot attend school without risking such attacks that also violate their right to education and gravely undermine their potential to fully participate in their communities.
The Commission reports the regime’s continued use of chemical weapons. Atrocities such as those perpetrated in Khan Shaykhun in April are completely unacceptable, and those responsible must be brought to justice.
There needs to be a lasting solution to the conflict, which can only be achieved through an inclusive political process under the auspices of the UN in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254. We lend our full support to Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, [the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria].
To achieve lasting peace, those responsible for violations of international law must be held accountable. We strongly support theInternational, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). The Nordic countries urge the Syrian regime to cooperate with the Commission and grant it access to Syria.
A question to the Commission,
What is your assessment of how children in Syria have and continue to be affected by the lack of respect for international humanitarian law, including the denial of humanitarian access?