On 29 September 2017, during its 36th session held between 11-29 September 2017 at the UN headquarters in Geneva, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution L.22 / A/HRC on human rights situation in Syria. The resolution was submitted by the United Kingdom on behalf of a group of states: France, Spain, Malta, The Maldives, Ukraine, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, Czechia, Turkey, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Jordan, Norway, The Netherlands, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, The Republic of Korea, Andorra, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression has participated in the draft resolution discussions, as a non-governmental organisation with consultative status in the UN Economic and Social Council. After two-day prolonged and elaborate discussions, the resolution strongly condemned grave and widespread human rights violations in Syria, stressing the importance of supporting international mechanisms to achieve justice, specifically, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM). In paragraph (42), the resolution states:
that all efforts to bring a peaceful conclusion to the ongoing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic must fully reflect the importance of ensuring accountability for the crimes committed in the country as a prerequisite to bringing about reconciliation and sustainable peace
In addition, the resolution singled out a set of paragraphs for extensive briefing on substantial key points, such as:
1 – The humanitarian crisis of the detainees and missing persons (paragraphs: 13-14-15-16-17-18-19).
The resolution strongly condemned the widespread forced disappearance, arbitrary detention, sexual violence and abuse, in particular in the detention facilities run by the Syrian authorities. In paragraph (20), the resolution demanded the immediate release of all persons arbitrarily detained, including women, children, human rights defenders, humanitarian aid providers, medical personnel and journalists.
2 – Targeting medical facilities and the use of chemical weapons.
The resolution referred to the reports by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, and stressed the importance of holding those responsible accountable (paragraphs: 21-26).
3 – Human Rights Situation of the Children in Syria
It has been decided, in this regard, that the Human Rights Council will convene a high-level panel during its 37th session (Paragraph: 54)
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) welcomes the resolution and stresses that special attention should be placed on the human rights situation in Syria and the use of strong and clear language in spite of the complexity of the Syrian situation. SCM emphasizes on:
- Special attention be paid to the humanitarian crisis of forced disappearances and executions, and requests a special commission of experts from the United Nations and Syrian non-governmental organisations to focus on the missing as well as identifying the deceased.
- The depoliticisation of the detainees issue by all parties of the conflict and all international actors, particularly, the Syrian authorities.
- Ensuring that accountability and a true transitional justice process are included in the peacebuilding framework in Syria to achieve sustainable peace.
- Requesting a special tribunal on Syria through the United Nations General Assembly.
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