Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council – 18th Session

Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Syria

Statement by Australia

Australia condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the ongoing violence committed by the Syrian regime and thanks the High Commissioner for her report on the situation of human rights in Syria.

The violence in Syria has now gone on for more than six months. The High Commissioner has advised that during that time more than 2,600 people have been killed. Many thousands more have been arbitrarily detained and tortured or inhumanely treated.

Australia urges the Government of Syria to implement the recommendations of the High Commissioner’s report, in particular by: putting an immediate end to gross human rights violations; ending impunity; releasing detainees; enabling the safe return of refugees and internally displaced people; allowing unrestricted access to journalists, humanitarian workers and OHCHR; and by inviting the special procedures of the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the human rights situation.

Australia also calls on the Syrian Government to grant full and unfettered access to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry.

Australia welcomes the widespread international condemnation of the Syrian regime's attacks on its people and the clear message from the international community that the violence must stop and human rights must be respected.

In particular, we welcome condemnation from governments in the Middle East, and from the Arab League.

We urge Syria to work with the Arab League to implement democratic reforms to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. President Assad should step aside to allow these reforms.

Finally, Australia again urges UN Security Council members to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Syria’s regime must know it will be held accountable for its actions.