WJC @ UNHRC46: Human Rights of minorities in Syria
Representative delivering the statement: Ms. Elizaveta Zaidman
Thank you, Madam President.
This month marks ten years since the beginning of the horrific conflict in Syria, which has taken the lives of some 600,000 people and has led to 5.6 million refugees and 6.6 million internally displaced persons. The World Jewish Congress welcomes the Report of the Commission of Inquiry and commends the continued documentation of human rights and humanitarian law violations committed there.
We are particularly concerned by the grave situation of the minorities in the country, as their rights are often the least protected. This includes the Kurds, Christians, Assyrians, Yazidis, and Druze.
As highlighted in the report, ISIS has carried out a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis, also through attacks on Yazidi women and girls, with practices of sexual violence, rape and forced pregnancy. These violations of international humanitarian law can amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. The Druze population of around one million people in Suwaida, in the south of Syria, is in a disastrous state of poverty, lacking access to food and other resources due to their isolation by the regime and to continuous attempts to ambush the city by Iranian-backed terrorist groups and Hezbollah. Similar issues are faced by Christians and other vulnerable minorities.
The World Jewish Congress would like to call on the Commission to pay stronger attention to the plight of ethnic and religious minorities in Syria, so that all those responsible face justice and the continued existence of minorities in the country can be guaranteed.