Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to deliver this general statement.
The United States strongly supports the resolution “the Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic” before us today, and we are pleased to be a co-sponsor of this resolution. We call on all countries to join us in voting in favor of this resolution. We welcome the resolution’s strong condemnation of the continued violations and abuses of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law carried out by the Syrian government and its allies.
The Syrian government remains responsible for the vast majority of the death and destruction inflicted on the Syrian people. The resolution rightly calls attention to the reporting by the UN Commission of Inquiry on these egregious human rights violations and abuses – including those involving unlawful killing; arbitrary detention; torture; sexual and gender-based violence; forced displacement; unlawful sieges; attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities and places of worship; removal of medical supplies from humanitarian aid convoys; and the use of chemical weapons.
The resolution references the April 4th attack on Khan Sheikhoun – including the recent confirmation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism that the Assad regime used a chemical weapon to kill more than 100 of its citizens, many of whom were women and children. This unconscionable attack marks the fourth time that the JIM has confirmed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons – underscoring the brutal and horrifying barbarism of Bashar al-Assad and making the protection provided by Russia to the regime even more egregious.
The United States denounces in the strongest possible terms all of these heinous acts. We reiterate our call for accountability and for a political solution to the conflict reached by an inclusive process owned and led by the Syrian people, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.