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Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the high-level panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (​A/HRC/35/15) (Advance edited version)

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Human Rights Council
Thirty-fifth session
6-23 June 2017
Agenda items 2 and 4

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Summary

In its resolution 33/23, the Human Rights Council decided to convene a high-level panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic during its thirty-fourth session, in consultation with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, including on the issue of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, and the need for accountability for related violations and abuses, featuring witness testimony and Syrian voices. Also in that resolution, the Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the high-level discussion. The present report was prepared pursuant to that request.

Introduction

  1. Pursuant to its resolution 33/23, the Human Rights Council held a high-level panel on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic on 14 March 2017, during its thirty-fourth session. The objectives of the discussion included increasing the visibility of violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, with a particular focus on the issue of arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture in detention and enforced disappearances since 2011, and suggesting ways to address those issues and to bring alleged perpetrators to account.
  2. The panel was chaired by the President of the Human Rights Council, Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli. Opening statements were delivered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis.
  3. The panel was moderated by senior CNN international correspondent Arwa Damon and composed of the Executive Director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Fadel Abdul Ghani; a lawyer actively engaged with the Syrian Women’s Network, Joumana Seif; the former Vice-President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, former detainee and activist, Noura Aljizawi; co-founder of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and researcher on extremist groups in the Middle East, Sarmad al-Jilane; and a lawyer, free speech advocate and Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, also a former detainee, Mazen Darwish.