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UN Syria Commission of Inquiry warns of urgent need for Syrian and international responses amid sharp rise in conflict and plummeting economy


Sep 12, 2023

Despite efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria warns that Syrians continue to suffer from escalating fighting and unrest, economic deterioration, and human rights violations. The Commission called on key actors to cease attacks on civilians and respond to their needs. They also urged the government in Damascus to listen to Syrians’ legitimate aspirations and rights as a means to end the conflict.

The Commission emphasized the need for states to review their unilateral coercive measures and their impact on ordinary Syrians and humanitarian actors. They also called for an urgent review of the efficacy and delivery of international aid. The report highlighted how life-saving aid was hindered following the devastating earthquakes in February, and how attacks on civilians continued in the affected areas. The Commission called for a thorough review of the failures in the earthquake response.

Recent weeks have seen increased conflict in Idlib and Deir-Ezzor, as well as large-scale protests for rights in government-controlled areas. Insecurity persists far beyond the frontlines, making the safe return of Syrian refugees unlikely. The Commission documented cases of ill-treatment and detainment of Syrian refugees returning from neighboring countries.

War crimes and crimes against humanity, including arbitrary detentions, torture, and executions of civilians, are still being committed by parties to the conflict. The Commission reiterated its call for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons and for independent monitors to have access to all places of detention. Living conditions in Al Hawl and Rawj camps were also highlighted as cruel and inhumane.

On a positive note, the Commission welcomed the establishment of the Independent Institution on Missing Persons in Syria and the upcoming public hearings at the International Court of Justice on the Syrian Arab Republic’s obligations under the Convention against Torture. The Commission hopes that survivors and their families will have the opportunity to participate meaningfully in these proceedings.

The Commission will present its latest mandate report to the UN Human Rights Council on 22 September. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic was established in 2011 to investigate and document violations of international human rights law in Syria. The Commission’s mandate has been extended several times, most recently until 2024.

By Editor

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