Statement by Ambassador Kelly at Arria Meeting on Accountability in the Syrian Arab Republic
Statement29 November 2021
Thank you Chair for bringing us together today. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this critical issue.
And I would also like to thank our briefers for their important contributions and their compelling testimony.
During more than a decade of conflict in Syria, the most heinous crimes have been committed. The perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity has shocked us all. Accountability for these crimes is vital. This is not only key to ensuring the right of the Syrian people to truth, justice and effective remedies, but it’s also essential for a just and sustainable political solution in Syria .
It is our common responsibility as members of the international community, and in particular as members of the Security Council, to ensure accountability for those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Combatting impunity would not be possible without the documenting of crimes. We commend the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, as well the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria for their work to date in gathering extensive and detailed evidence of crimes committed in Syria. Ireland remains committed to supporting the work of the IIIM (triple IM) and the Commission of Inquiry, as well as the OPCW’s Fact Finding Mission and Investigation and Identification Team.
Along with these international mechanisms, the role of civil society in documenting human rights abuses, assisting victims, and promoting accountability for those responsible, is absolutely vital. Groupings such as the International Partnership against Impunity for the use of Chemical Weapons keep accountability issues high on the international agenda. And we also commend those States who have initiated proceedings to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity in their domestic courts.
Chair, the situation of detainees and missing persons remains one of the greatest tragedies in this conflict. The psychological impact on the victims and their families is unconscionable. And Ireland continues to call on the Syrian authorities, and on other parties, to release all those who have been arbitrarily detained and abducted, and to make the fate of missing persons known.
A generation of Syrian children have grown up knowing nothing but conflict. They have been failed time and time again. Grave violations of children’s rights continue unabated, including recruitment, abductions, killing and maiming. Girls are disproportionately impacted by sexual and gender-based violence and by the targeting of educational and health facilities. We must strive to protect children from harm, to vindicate their rights and hold those responsible to account.
In closing, Ireland believes now more than ever that the Security Council and the international community as a whole should recommit ourselves to work for accountability for the crimes committed in Syria. It is our fervent hope that this could achieve the justice that the people of Syria yearn for and so richly deserve.
Thank you Chair.