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Statement at the Arria-formula Meeting on Syrian Women's Voices

Thank you Chair and thank you to the co-sponsors for this meeting. 



Our thanks also to the civil society representatives Mariam, Najah and Alise, for your courage and for your commitment. It is particularly important to highlight the perspectives of Syrian women and to hear your voices. 



Mariam, I want to thank you in particular for your eloquent testimony on the heart-breaking efforts to find the mortal remains of your son.  It is unconscionable that you have been unable to discover where your son is so that you can give him a dignified burial.



Your own brave testimony and those of the survivors at the trial in Koblenz highlighted the importance of witness testimonies in bringing to justice perpetrators of atrocity crimes in Syria. Survivors of atrocity crimes who testify in court must receive sufficient witness protection and psychosocial support.



Arriving at an accurate number of the women killed, arrested and forcibly disappeared is difficult, due to the fear of repercussions. Even after being released from detention, their trauma is often compounded as many are stigmatised by their families and communities.


Ireland welcomes the work of Syrian civil society in setting out practical mechanisms for the justice system, such as the Charter of Truth and Justice.  It is imperative that the voices of civil society, and victims and their families, are at the centre of any lasting political solution.


Ireland maintains that all perpetrators of grave violations of international law must be held accountable. We support ongoing international efforts, including by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism, in the absence of a referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. 


Ireland remains deeply concerned at the plight of the missing, and we commend the work by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on a possible international independent mechanism. We reiterate our calls for the release of those arbitrarily detained, for the fate and whereabouts of all those forcibly detained to be revealed, and for independent monitors to be ensured access to all places of detention. 


We note the recent announcement of an amnesty decree. More information is needed about its application, and much more needs to be done to address the pressing and vital needs of missing persons and their relatives.


Ireland will continue to support UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen’s work to find  a political solution in line with Security Council Resolution 2254.


Any sustainable solution must be inclusive and bring truth and justice, and I really want to thank our civil society representatives this morning for their moving messages and reminders of that issue today.


Thank you Chair. 


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