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Syria/human rights/United Nations

Published on August 22, 2011
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Deputy Spokesman

Paris, August 19, 2011

France welcomes the release on Thursday, 18 August of the preliminary report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) fact-finding mission on the human rights situation in Syria.

The information contained in this report, which is based on the numerous accounts given by Syrians who have fled their country, confirms the brutality of the crackdown being imposed by the Syrian authorities. The multiple murders and enforced disappearances, acts of torture and persecution perpetrated by the regime’s military and security forces against the civilian population could constitute, according to the report, “crimes against humanity”. The crackdown orchestrated by the government, which does not even spare women or children, is reaching an intolerable level of terror.

France fully supports the recommendations given in the OHCHR’s report and agrees in particular with its proposal to demand that the Security Council refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Faced with the continued and worsening acts of violence being perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Human Rights Council will hold another extraordinary session on Monday devoted to the human rights situation in Syria. This meeting was convened on the initiative of a large majority of the Council’s members, including the four Arab countries that sit on the Council (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar). France hopes the meeting will make it possible to emphasize the seriousness of the Syrian regime’s crimes, to establish strengthened investigative mechanisms and to increase international pressure to bring an immediate end to the acts of violence being inflicted on the civilian population.

This report was released while the Security Council was briefed, during consultations held on 18 August, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Pillay, and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms Amos, who bore witness to the scale of the crackdown and acts of violence being inflicted on the civilian population in Syria.

France, together with her European and American partners, expressed support for the swift adoption of a resolution which should, in any event, impose sanctions./.

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