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Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Syria - Political

Thank you Mr. President, and thank you Special Envoy Pedersen for your briefing and your clear, insightful updates, which we really appreciate.

 

I would also like to thank Omar Alshogre for being with us today. Civil society plays a critical challenge function, and it is important even when it is uncomfortable.

 

 

Mr. President,

 

We have heard from the Special Envoy that violence has continued across Syria, particularly in the north-west, and remains a serious concern.

 

 

It is atrocious that seventy-two civilians, including twelve children, were killed in the months of April and May. Indiscriminate attacks, and direct attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are violations of international humanitarian law. 

 

 

We call on all actors to comply fully with their international legal obligations. I reiterate Ireland’s call for a nationwide ceasefire across Syria to protect human lives, and to help build trust and confidence on the political track.

 

 

Mr. President,

 

 

Ireland condemns the attack on a civilian bus on 20 June in Raqqa, which killed thirteen people, including two civilians. This attack is another stark reminder of the threat posed by terrorism and the need for sustained, comprehensive efforts to counter it.

 

 

The footage of a massacre that took place in 2013 in the Tadamon neighbourhood of Damascus, published in The Guardian newspaper in April is very shocking. The footage revealed the brutality of the perpetrators, and it is even more disturbing that the families of the victims discovered the fate of their loved ones in this way.

 

The release of this video reminds us of the absolute necessity of ensuring accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria. It also highlights the importance of the Government and other parties sharing information on the fate of the missing and disappeared.

 

Withholding information deliberately prolongs the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of family members who often risk arrest, extortion and abuse in the search for their missing loved ones.

 

We continue to call on the Syrian Government and other parties to release all those arbitrarily detained, including children, women and the elderly, and for unimpeded access for all independent monitors to places of detention.

 

We take note of the Syrian Government’s amnesty decree last April, and stress that all releases must be conducted in a transparent and verifiable manner.

 

Ireland continues to support a referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and in the absence of such, strongly supports UN efforts including by the Commission of Inquiry and International Impartial and Independent Mechanism.

 

 We believe that more can be done to support victims and survivors, as well as their families who have spent far too long in limbo.

 

Mr. President,

 

The continued suffering of innocent children in Syria is an affront to all of humanity. Those who have survived the past eleven years of conflict have had their childhood taken from them, and it is the responsibility of this Council to ensure that Syria moves towards a sustainable and inclusive peace.

 

Special Envoy Pedersen ,

 

We will continue to support your efforts, including through the Constitutional Committee and your step for step approach, in pursuit of implementation of all aspects of Resolution 2254 of this Council.

 

It is imperative that the disproportionate impact of the conflict on women remains a focus.  Women from all parts of Syrian society must be empowered to fully and equally participate in the political track, including through but not limited to the Women’s Advisory Board.  And in this respect Geir we would be happy to have an update on your engagement with the Women’s Advisory Board.

 

Ireland and the European Union remain committed to ensuring the situation in Syria remains high on the international agenda.  And be assured that Syria is not forgotten.

 

Thank you Mr. President.

 

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