Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement685

Human Rights Council - 28th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic 

Australian Statement  

17 March 2015

Australia thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its continued efforts to document the growing tally of crimes and atrocities taking place in Syria.

The death toll for the conflict has now surpassed 200,000. Just as concerning are the conditions the living are subjected to; an estimated 212,000 people are still besieged, mostly by Syrian regime forces. Parties to the conflict – including the regime and armed opposition groups – continue to bombard civilian neighbourhoods. We draw particular attention to the weaponised use of chlorine, as documented by the OPCW.

The emergence of the terrorist group Daesh, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has only compounded the tragedy faced by the Syrian people. Depravity includes: women sold into slavery; forced marriage of girls; public executions by stoning; the targeting of religious minorities. Daesh revels in its worst abuses, publicising acts like executions by child soliders.

Perpetrators of serious international crimes must be held to account. There can be no impunity for the events taking place in Syria. Australia was proud to be one of 65 co-sponsors of a UN Security Council resolution referring the situation to the ICC, and was deeply disappointed by its veto.

All parties to the conflict must take critical steps to protect civilians, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2191. We urge Council members to hold the parties to account for their continued, wilful violations of these resolutions, as consistently reported by the Secretary-General.