Geneva, September the 30th 2022, 51st session of the Human Rights Council of the UN

A joint oral intervention on item /6/the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) and the Syrian Legal Development Programme (SLDP), supported by We Exist, was delivered  during the general discussion session of the Universal Periodic Review at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, by Ms. Zahra AL-BARAZI, Research Director of the Syrian Legal Development Programme.

Intervention Text:

Mr. President. We appreciate that the UPR is a State-driven process, which allows each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries. But we also emphasize that the ultimate aim of the UPR is to improve the human rights situation in all countries. At its third UPR review in 2022, Syria submitted its national report claiming a sound human rights situation, where remaining challenges came only from external factors. We are concerned that Syrian authorities are abusing the UPR to evade its international obligations by providing misleading information. For instance, the national report mentioned that the Syrian authorities issued /20/ amnesty laws under the pretext of its tolerant approach. Yet, it did not mention that /8/ of these laws pardoned the crime of torture, and /5/ of them pardoned the crime of kidnapping. Furthermore Syrian authorities claim that kidnapping is the national equivalent of the international crime of Enforced Disappearance, knowing that this legal analogy is incorrect and misleading. Mr. President, The cycle of legislative and judicial violations has become entrenched in law and practice, and it is impossible to address one aspect of this cycle without addressing the rest. These violations feed each other. We therefore urge the Council, the States, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to rigorously scrutinise these interrelated violations and the human rights situation in Syria to ensure that the information is truthful and is provided in good faith. Following up on the States’ recommendations comprehensively should be viewed holistically through these cycle of violations. The Syrian state is primary responsibility for the gross human rights violations occurred. Thank you Mr. President.