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Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent situation in Aleppo

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GENEVA (21 October 2016) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its Special Session on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent situation in Aleppo, after requesting the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to conduct a comprehensive, independent special inquiry into the events in Aleppo, and identify all those responsible for alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law.

In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, seven against and 16 abstentions, the Council welcomed any genuine steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Aleppo and the decision of the Secretary-General to establish an internal United Nations board of inquiry on the incident involving the bombing of a United Nations-Syrian Arab Red Crescent relief operation to Urum al-Kubra, in the Syrian Arab Republic, on 19 September 2016. 

The Human Rights Council urged the immediate implementation of the cessation of hostilities, and demanded that the regime and its allies put an immediate end to all aerial bombardments of and military flights over Aleppo city.  The Council demanded that all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities and its supporters, promptly allowed rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, including across conflict lines and borders.

The Council requested the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to conduct a comprehensive, independent special inquiry into the events in Aleppo, and identify all those responsible for alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law.  It further requested the Commission of Inquiry to support efforts to ensure that perpetrators of alleged abuses and violations were held accountable, and to provide a full report of the findings of its special inquiry to the Human Rights Council no later than its thirty-fourth session.
 
The opening meeting of the Special Session heard keynote statements by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a video message; Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic; and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Member of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, speaking on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council; as well as a statement by Syria, the concerned country.

A summary of their statements and the debate can be found here and here.

This was the Human Rights Council’s twenty-fifth Special Session.  Documentation relating to the Special Session, including the resolution, is available on the Human Rights Council webpage. The thirty-fourth regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 27 February to 24 March 2017.

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For use of the information media; not an official record