Item 4: Syrian Arab Republic

Statement delivered September 17, 2018 at the 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council.

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As delivered by H.E. Ambassador Hans Brattskar, on behalf of the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden).

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.

We are deeply concerned about the looming humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib. Only this year, 1,2 million Syrians have been displaced. We call on all parties, in particular the Syrian regime and its allies, to cease hostilities and ensure protection of civilians, as well as humanitarian access. All parties in Syria must respect their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights.

We condemn all use of chemical weapons in Syria. The regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against its own population, as confirmed by the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, is unacceptable. All such use is reprehensible and constitutes a serious violation of international law. Those found responsible for chemical weapons’ use must be held accountable.

We express alarm over the systematic human rights violations committed by the Syrian regime, including related to detention practices. There are numerous challenges connected to the protection of housing, land and property rights (HLP), such as Law No. 10 enacted by the Syrian regime. We are especially worried about the grave implications for female-headed households and refugees. The Nordic countries support the recommendations proposed on HLP in the latest COI report.

We continue to pursue accountability and strongly support the triple-I-M and the COI as well as civil society actors who risk their lives to ensure documentation of crimes. We urge others to support these efforts.

Finally, we underline the need for progress in the UN-led political process. The underlying causes must be addressed to end the conflict and prevent future conflicts.