29 July, 2013
Statement by H.E. Mr. Golamhossein Dehghani Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of
the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Before the General Assembly of the United Nations Informal meeting
Briefing by Chair of the Independent International Commission of
Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic
29 July, 2013
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I would like to thank Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic for his briefing. The growth of extremism and violent acts by terrorist and extremist groupsin Syria is gaining new dimensions. There is now a growing concern that the operations by extremist armed groups with its possible spill-over into other areas in the region would pose further threat and danger to the regional security and stability.
Unfortunately, sometimes we see dangerous decisions made that only flames up the violence in Syria and prolongs the crisis there. Sending advanced arms to extremist and irresponsible groups fighting in Syria is of a major worrisome among them. Such actions only add oil to the fire and could lead to enflame the violence in Syria and the region.
There are horrible reports on the worst forms of crimes that have been committed by extremists, including using civilians as human shields, no matter what ethnicity or religion they belong to. There are reports on sexual violence and rapes against innocent women and young girls. The irony is that less people talks about those crimes. The fact is that everyone including Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Druses and Kurds are victims of extremist groups. We wonder why during the past two years nobody took a position against the presence of foreign fighters in Syria. Did United Kingdom, United States and some other Western countries express any of their concern over arming and sending money and providing logistics to the armed extremist groups? Or were they themselves involved and collaborating in that? Didn’t they prefer to close their eyes to the crimes committed by the extremists in Qusayr, Allepo, Khan El-Asal and other cities and villages in Syria? It is about two years that 70 thousand people are encircled by the armed extremists in Nabl and Al-Zahra cities in the Aleppo province. Did The United Kingdom and the United States thought for a moment to raise and follow the humanitarian situation of these people? Some people entrapped in those cities are surviving by eating the leaves of the trees. The armed extremist groups have committed and continue to commit horrible crimes in these cities. Who is worried about the fate of these people? Where is the accountability that we talk so much about? Should not these terrorist groups hold responsible for their acts? The recent attacks by the Israeli regime on some targets in Syria were vivid violations of the territorial integrity of Syria and violations of international law. Did the United States and United Kingdom condemn such acts?
We would request the Inquiry Commission and in line with the heavy responsibility bestowed upon this Commission a strong position vis-à-vis such actions which would lead to the prolongation of the crisis and increase of the violence in Syria and the region. Without any doubt the only constructive approach in passing over these critical moments in Syria is a political approach and avoiding any military adventurism.
I take this opportunity to raise one other important issue. As the Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic is aware, the extremist insurgents affiliated to Al Qaeda (Nosrah Front), have conducted some attacks on religious shrines. In some cases they have destroyed the tomb and desecrated the blessed mausoleums. Taking into account the holiness of sacred places among divine religions, and the necessity to respect the sanctity of sacred places and also with due regard that such actions could enflame religious conflicts among the followers of great divine religions, it is expected from the Commission to condemn such actions and in the Commissions’ reports to recommend to relevant parties to make every effort so that the sanctity of holy places of Islam and Christianity are preserved and prevent any further similar sacrileges in the future.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as has done so many times in the past, condemns any violence based on religious views or beliefs and is of the view that the only way for coexistence among religions is to ensure the respect for the sanctity of faith and belief.
This brings more than ever into picture our responsibilities for supporting a Syrian-led political dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the crisis and ending the violence in Syria. Now the Geneva II Conference is under preparation. We all wish to see an expeditious end to the violence in Syria and a peaceful solution to the crisis in that country.
Thank you very much Mr. President