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Human Rights Council to hold Special Session on Syrian Arab Republic

The Human Rights Council will hold a Special Session on Friday, 2 December “to examine the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic in the light of the report of the Commission of Inquiry”.

The request for the Special Session was made by the European Union this morning and was signed by 28 Member States of the Council and 40 observer States. The Member States are Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Maldives, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Spain, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United States and Uruguay. The observer States are Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Turkey.

On 23 August, the Human Rights Council concluded its seventeenth Special Session by adopting a resolution requiring that an Independent International Commission of Inquiry be dispatched to Syria to investigate all allegations of violations of international human rights law committed by the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria presented its report on 28 November, concluding that the substantial body of evidence gathered by the Commission indicated that gross violations of human rights had been committed by Syrian military and security forces since the beginning of the protests in March 2011. The Commission was gravely concerned that crimes against humanity had been committed in different locations in the Syrian Arab Republic during the period under review. It called upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to put an immediate end to the ongoing gross human rights violations, to initiate independent and impartial investigations of these violations and to bring perpetrators to justice. The Commission deeply regretted that, despite many requests, the Government failed to engage in dialogue and to grant the commission access to the country.

On 29 April 2011, the Council held the first Special Session on the human rights situation in Syria in which it adopted a resolution that requested the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a mission to Syria to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability.

This will be the third Special Session on the Syrian Arab Republic and the eighteenth Special Session to be held by the Human Rights Council.

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For use of the information media; not an official record