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Joint Nordic statement on the human rights situation in Syria

39th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 4: Interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the
Syrian Arab Republic

17 September 2018

Intervention by the Nordic countries

Delivered by Iceland

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 processes. The underlying causes must be addressed to end the conflict and prevent future conflicts.


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