Draft resolution L.16 on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, as delivered by Simon Manley, UK Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva.

Simon Manley CMG

Thank you Mr President,

I have the honour to present draft resolution L.16 on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, on behalf of France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Qatar, Turkiye, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Mr President,

The recent earthquakes have had a devastating impact on the Syrian people and will continue to do so for years to come. We welcome efforts by the UN to ensure humanitarian aid reaches all those affected, and we reiterate our condolences to the victims and survivors. We are appalled, though not entirely surprised, that the regime attempted to use the disaster for political gain.

These events did not occur in a vacuum – it is a natural disaster within a man-made tragedy which has unfolded over the last 12 years. The latest Commission of Inquiry report explains clearly how Assad continues to inflict unimaginable pain and acts of violence on his own people.

In our resolution we highlight these persistent violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria.

Homes, schools, markets, farms – nowhere is safe from the targeted assault on civilians and their livelihoods.

The so-called “amnesty laws” have yet to result in any further clarity on the tens of thousands of individuals forcibly disappeared, and those detained under appalling conditions.

Rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence is known to be widespread, yet underreported, due to a woeful absence of paths for redress and support for survivors.

Mr President,

The resolution put forward today condemns the continued violence inflicted on the Syrian people, demands that humanitarian aid is unimpeded and reaches its intended recipients.

It supports the timely implementation of a humanitarian mechanism to clarify the fates of the missing and demands support and justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

And it seeks to renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, whose excellent work remains vital for ensuring accountability.

Let me thank all those who have engaged constructively in the informal consultations on this resolution.

Mr President, at a time when the Syrian people face devastation anew, it is vital that this Council adopts this resolution to continue our efforts to ensure accountability. If a vote is called on this resolution, I urge our fellow members of this Council to vote in favour of it.

Published 4 April 2023