Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 12th Session

Universal Periodic Review of the Syrian Arab Republic

Statement by Australia

7 October 2011

Australia welcomes the delegation from Syria and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.

The deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights advised on 19 September that more than 2,700 Syrians have been killed in ongoing protests demanding reform and democratic freedoms. Australia condemns the murder of overwhelmingly non-violent protesters and activists and torture of detainees in the strongest possible terms and urges Syria to end immediately this ongoing brutality against its own people.

Australia strongly urges the Government of Syria to implement the recommendations of the High Commissioner’s report, in particular by: putting an immediate end to human rights violations; ending impunity for the crimes that are being committed; 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 reiterates its call for the Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, and also calls on the Syrian Government to grant full and unfettered access to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry.

We urge Syria to implement credible democratic reforms to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. President Assad should step aside immediately to allow these reforms.

Australia commends the many brave Syrians who continue to demand their basic human rights and legitimate freedoms.

Australia recommends that Syria:

1. Immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and activists and bring violators to account.

2. End its practice of arbitrarily detaining Syrians for participating in peaceful demonstrations and release all those held in detention.

3. Allow unrestricted access to journalists, humanitarian workers and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

4. Allow full and unfettered access to the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry established under Human Rights Council resolution S-17/1.

5. Respond to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people with a credible process for reform.