UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 50TH SESSION

Interactive dialogue with Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arab Republic

Statement by Ambassador H.E. Paul Bekkers, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU and expresses its deepest appreciation for the Commission of Inquiry.

Part of our responsibility in helping the people of Syria, is making sure they know we are and remain by their side, also in their fight for justice.

The tireless work of IIIM, countless Syrian CSO’s and the Commission of Inquiry, has been crucial in this respect. After years of preparing the ground for justice processes, their work is starting to bear fruit, with Koblenz as a first glimmer of hope that accountability is attainable. Other initiatives are under preparation or on their way to hold Syria accountable for the countless gross and systemic atrocities it has perpetrated against its own people in the past 11 years. One of them is the joint Dutch/Canadian initiative against the Syrian Arab Republic under the Convention Against Torture. It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.

We continue to stand by the Syrians in their quest for answers about the fate of their missing loved ones. And we are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the OHCHR’s study on how to bolster efforts to address the issue of missing persons in Syria.

We firmly underline the Commission’s recent recommendations in that regard, that call for a separate international mechanism with a strictly humanitarian mandate.

Distinguished members of the Commission:

In your recent policy paper on ‘Syria’s Missing and Disappeared’, you say “incommunicado detention and disappearances still occur routinely”. Could you give us an idea as to the scale at which this continues to happen?

Thank you.