This session of the Human Rights Council opened with an Urgent Debate on Syria and the adoption of a resolution focused on humanitarian access, and we have remained seized with the situation throughout, even as events on the ground have sharply deteriorated.
Today, on the session’s final day, Council members came together in their strongest show of unity yet to demand end to the violence by the Assad regime. The resolution on Syria we have just adopted highlights the growing unity of the international community and the increasing isolation of the three countries which stood alone to oppose the text.
Today’s resolution is important. It renews and significantly strengthens the work of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), the team of investigators tasked by the HRC with documenting the situation inside Syria with a view to ensuring that those who are responsible are held to account.
For the first time, the Council has asked its team of investigators to provide continuous mapping of both human rights violations and casualties.
Expressing grave concern about systemic impunity for human rights violations, the Council has also asked the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure the safe and secure storage of all evidence of human rights violations gathered by the COI. This is the first time such a request has been included in a Human Rights Council resolution.
The Council has demanded that the regime lift without delay its blockade on Homs, Dar’a, Zabadani and all other cities under siege and that it ensure timely, safe, and unhindered access for medical and humanitarian aid.
With today’s vote the Council sends a message to the people of Syria. We are with you. We support your aspirations. We are working to ensure that crimes against you will not go unpunished. Together we demand an end to the brutality of the Assad regime.