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HRC Speech 18 March 2014

HRC Speech 18 March 2014

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Published by UN Tribune
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro update to HRC on Syria.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro update to HRC on Syria.

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Published by: UN Tribune on Mar 18, 2014
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03/18/2014

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 EMBARGO UNTIL 09h00 (Geneva time)
Check against delivery
United Nations Human Rights CouncilStatement by Mr. Paulo Sérgio PinheiroChair of the Independent International Commission of Inuiry on the Syrian !rab Republic"ene#a$ %& March '(%)
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M. le PrésidentExcellencies,Mesdames, MessieursThe harrowing violence in the Syrian Arab e!ublic has entered its "ourth year. #t shows no signs o" subsiding, as is a!!arent not only "rom our most recent re!ort but also "rom our u!date, released today.The lives o" over one hundred thousand !eo!le have been extinguished. Those "reed "rom detention now live with the !hysical and mental scars o" torture. The "ate and whereabouts o" thousands more remain un$nown.%ivilians in besieged areas have been reduced to scavenging. A recent  !hotogra!h showing thousands o" !eo!le &ueuing "or "ood at the 'armou$ cam! in (amascus has underlined how des!erate, and how !recarious, the lives o" the besieged have become. )* humanitarian agencies that gained access to 'armou$ witnessed shoc$ing devastation, describing the buildings as +em!ty shells, with !eo!le emerging "rom hiding +li$e ghosts. #n this con"lict-s most recent low!oint, !eo!le, including young children, have starved to death.  *early nine million !eo!le / a third o" the !o!ulation / have now "led their homes. #n addition to the 0. million re"ugees, there are an estimated 2. million internally dis!laced !eo!le inside Syria. Millions more live in enclaves surrounded by violence.This is the tragic reality o" the Syrian war. The battle"ield has ta$en on new layers o" com!lexity. The 3overnment continues to rely on its su!erior "ire!ower, including its control o" the s$ies. #t has bene"itted "rom the intervention o" "oreign "ighters, many o" whom have an o""icial !resence in Syria. 4thers, notably insurgents crossing over "rom #ra&, are clandestinely "ighting in concert with the army and with the !ro3overnment militia.
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There are now hundreds o" nonState armed grou!s. 5oreign "ighters have streamed into Syria, o"ten 6oining the more extremist battalions. Some, notably #S#S o!erating in Ale!!o and Ala&&ah governorates, are im!osing their radical ideologies on the civilian !o!ulation. 7hile the armed grou!s are organi8ing themselves into coalitions, tensions over !olitical control, resources and ideological orientations remain. #n 9anuary 0:1;, these tensions eru!ted into deadly violence in northern and northeastern governorates.%ivilians are re!eatedly the victims o" acts o" terror. %ar and suicide bombs targeting civilian areas by nonState armed grou!s have caused extensive casualties and destruction. The 3overnment-s cam!aign o" barrelbombing, notably targeting entire areas in Ale!!o city, has s!read terror amongst the civilian !o!ulation. Terrorism, in all its "orms, is a grave threat to international  !eace and security. All acts o" terrorism are criminal and un6usti"iable, regardless o" their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomever committed.Save "or the valiant e""orts o" humanitarian aid agencies, the international community has done little but bear witness to the !light o" those caught in the maelstrom. Syrians "eel abandoned and ho!eless. The overwhelming im!erative is "or the !arties, in"luential states and the international community to wor$ to ensure the !rotection o" civilians. #n !articular, as set out in Security %ouncil resolution 01<=, !arties must li"t the sieges and allow unim!eded and sa"e humanitarian access. # have 6ust returned "rom the region, where # s!o$e with Syrians who had "led the violence. Many had su""ered uns!ea$able atrocities. Among victims o" this terrible war, the need "or accountability is dee!lyrooted in the desire "or !eace. The %ommission-s re!orts, thematic !a!ers and u!dates are an authoritative record o" incidents documented throughout the Syrian unrest and armed con"lict. They act as a bulwar$ against the misin"ormation and !ro!aganda that have come to characterise this war. #t is this volume o" testimony that will be the enduring legacy o" the %ommission> an archive o" Syrian voices and a resource "or "uture !rosecutions. As is well$nown, we have established a list o" individuals and entities / military units and security agencies as well as armed grou!s and their battalions
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