EU Statement – UN Security Council Arria-formula meeting: Syrian Women’s Voices on Detainees and the Disappeared

(Source: EEAS)

3 June 2022, New York – European Union Statement delivered by Christophe Forax, First Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations,  at the United Nations Security Council Arria-formula Meeting on Syrian Women’s Voices on Detainees and the Disappeared in Syria

– Check against delivery –

Chair, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to thank Albania, together with the United Kingdom and the United States, for organising this Arria-formula meeting today.

The EU and its Member States continue to condemn the use of arbitrary detention, torture, involuntary or enforced disappearance and summary executions by all parties to the conflict, first and foremost by the Syrian regime.

Over 100,000 people have gone missing in Syria since 2011. Many of them are believed to be victims of enforced disappearance and to be held in detention by the Syrian regime. The latest report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria shows that women suffer sexual and gender-based violence in detention.

The European Union and its Member States attach great importance to the fate of the missing and detained persons in Syria: it is a plight affecting almost every Syrian family.

Locating and identifying the missing and the release of those arbitrarily detained constitute a humanitarian imperative. The European Union has and will continue to call on the Syrian regime and the countries with influence for large-scale release of those arbitrarily detained, especially the women and children at the hands of the regime, and for transparent information on the missing.

Determining the fate of the missing and the detained is critical for ensuring long-term peace and reconciliation in Syria. Accountability and justice for victims is – and will remain – essential for a stable, peaceful Syria, based on a credible, inclusive and viable political solution in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

We will continue to support the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), notably in regards to missing persons and detainees. We reiterate our support to the work of NGOs in collecting evidence and supporting victims and their families.

Despite bearing the brunt of the conflict, Syrian women continue to be at the forefront of peacebuilding efforts, leading on the protection of all human rights and providing essential and lifesaving humanitarian aid to those in need.

Women and girls in conflicts are not just victims or vulnerable groups. Women have proven to be powerful agents of change and peace. I would like to pay tribute to the women and girls of Syria, to your exceptional courage, to your resilience and your determination.

The EU supports many Syrian women organisations, including the Women Advisory Board, established by the Office of the Special Envoy to give Syrian women a role in the peace talks.

Finally, I wish to recall the Brussels VI Conference, which took place on 10 May, and that provided again a platform to the voices of the Syrian civil society, including women.

Thank you.

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