Periodic Update from the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria 24 May 2012 (EN/AR)
1. Established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-17/1 and extended through resolution A/HRC/19/22, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic is requested to periodically update the Council on gross violations of human rights as well as on casualty figures resulting from the conflict. This Update focuses on incidents that have occurred since March 2012 and is based on 214 interviews conducted during two investigative missions, one in March and the other in April 2012, as well as on interviews conducted more recently in Geneva. The Syrian Government has not yet afforded access to the Commission to undertake investigations inside the Syrian Arab Republic.
2. The Commission remains extremely concerned about the human rights situation in the country where gross violations continue unabated in an increasingly militarized context, despite the parties to the conflict having reached agreement on the Joint Special Envoy’s “six-point plan”. Most of the serious human rights violations documented by the Commission in this Update were committed by the Syrian army and security services as part of military or search operations conducted in locations known for hosting defectors and/or armed persons, or perceived as supportive of anti-government armed groups. The army employed the wide range of military means, including heavy shelling of civilian areas. The Commission received several accounts that anti-government armed groups are also committing human rights abuses.
3. A series of explosions that have inflicted a heavy toll on human life in Damascus, Idlib, Aleppo and elsewhere were reported. The Commission condemns the indiscriminate nature of these attacks and deplores the loss of life that has resulted.
\4. Also of grave concern are the displacement of civilian populations, both within the Syrian Arab Republic and across its international borders, combined with the widespread pillaging and burning of homes; the tightly controlled security environment resulting in restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of movement, speech and association; and the systematic denial, in some areas, of the basic requirements of human life such as food, water and medical care.
5. The Commission has taken note of the intensity of the violence in the Syrian Arab Republic as well as the increasingly organized nature of armed groups in some areas.