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Intervention by Estonia at the UN Human Rights Council 36th Session under Item 4 in interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic


UN Human Rights Council 36th Session


Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Andre Pung, ESTONIA


Item 4 – ID with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Geneva, 18 September 2017

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Mr. President,


Estonia aligns itself fully with the statement made by the EU. We would like to thank the Commission of Inquiry for their thorough raport presented at this session.


Estonia finds unacceptable the grave crimes perpetrated against civilians by the parties to the conflict – especially against religious minorities and vulnerable groups, such as women and children –, and the use of siege to limit the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance to the suffering Syrian populations. We condemn the continuing deliberate attacks targeting schools, hospitals and other protected civilian infrastructure, using forced displacement, and starvation as a weapon of war.


The use of chemical weapons by the government forces in opposition-held areas as reported by the Commission of Inquiry is deeply concerning. It is a violation of international humanitarian law and the Convention on Chemical Weapons and may amount to war crime and crime against humanity. Thus, we remind the obligations taken by Syria as a party to the convention since 2013, and call on all parties to the Syrian conflict to facilitate the investigations of these attacks.


Estonia urges all parties to the conflict to continue negotiations for a political solution to the Syrian conflict, under the auspices of the United Nations and take every feasible measure to spare the civilian population from the harmful effects of the ongoing armed conflict. We call on all parties involved in the conflict to cooperate fully with the international, impartial and independent mechanism established by the UN General Assembly resolution in December 2016. Their work will be essential in ensuring that impunity does not prevail in this conflict and that all perpetrators are held accountable. We reiterate our support for referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to guarantee that all victims would receive justice.


Lastly, we call on the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council mechanisms and the Commission of Inquiry by granting immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic.


Thank you.


© Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28A, Geneva
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