Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement721

Human Rights Council - 29th Regular Session

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

Australian Statement

23 June 2015

Australia thanks the Commission of Inquiry for its continued efforts to systematically document and investigate the ever-growing tally of atrocities and abuses taking place in Syria.

Last month was reportedly the deadliest month yet of the Syrian crisis. There are now over 12 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 440,000 people are still living in besieged areas.

The brutality of the violence being perpetrated in Syria is as horrific as at any time in the crisis. Continued barrel bomb attacks on heavily populated areas in and around Aleppo are shocking. Chlorine continues to be used as a weapon. Armed groups continue to target vulnerable communities on the basis of their ethnicity and religion.

We urge all parties to the conflict to take critical steps to protect civilians, recalling UN Security Council Resolution 2139 (2014), which specifically condemns the indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas and aerial bombardment, including barrel bombs.

Those responsible for the serious international crimes being committed in Syria must be held to account. Australia supports efforts to achieve justice for the victims of the conflict in Syria. Without justice it will be difficult to achieve an inclusive and lasting peace.

Does the Commission of Inquiry see evidence that states with influence among the parties are pressing them to improve their behaviour?