Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Ambassador Richard Erdman
Senior Area Advisor for Near East Affairs
New York, New York
October 25, 2021


Mr. Chairman Pinheiro,

We thank the COI for excellent reporting and strongly support its presentation to the General Assembly. After ten years of unspeakable suffering and tragedy in Syria, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria is finally on the Third Committee’s agenda. This is as it should be, and the Commission’s factual presentation is another reason why we are urging all delegations to support the annual resolution on the Syria human rights situation.

Regime abuses – particularly the campaign of unjust detentions and torture, documented by the COI and civil society – affect every Syrian family. The Syrian Network for Human Rights has reported nearly 150,000 Syrians arbitrarily detained, though actual figures likely are higher. As the Commissioners stressed, the regime’s pattern of violations and abuses – some amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes – make it impossible for Syrians to return to their homes safely.

We urge the UN Special Envoy and OHCHR to intensify engagement to hasten release of detainees and to obtain information on the whereabouts of the missing. An inclusive political resolution in Syria must include the release of those arbitrarily detained. The U.S. stands steadfast with the Syrian people in demanding justice and accountability.