GENEVA / COI SYRIA

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28-Feb-2019 00:02:13
Fighting in parts of Syria is less intense than it was, but the reality for civilians is war crimes and crimes against humanity, together with “widespread rights violations and lawlessness”, a UN Commission of Inquiry said on Thursday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / COI SYRIA
TRT: 2:13
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 FEBRUARY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, journalists, podium
3. Med shot, journalists
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“First and foremost, hostilities continue. The war is not over.”
5. Med shot, journalists
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“The warring parties, they don’t show any interest for the Syrian population, dignity and rights. In this respect I would like to express our shock at current escalations in Idlib, where yet again, hostilities have spiraled in recent weeks, causing death and devastation.”
7. Med shot: podium
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanny Megally, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“You’re finding the State is rewarding those who support it and punishing those who didn’t. You’re finding areas are getting better assistance and other areas being completely neglected. International humanitarian aid is not coming in to help you. If you’re living in areas that are in control on the north-west of armed groups, or the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, you’re finding there are groups that are fighting each other. You know, the State may not be flying over and bombing, but Groups are fighting each other, and you’re caught in the middle.”
9. Med shot, journalists
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanny Megally, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Justice and accountability from the victims’ perspective, from the survivors’ perspective in Syria is more than the limited focus on courts and criminal justice, but it extends to looking at questions around the missing and the disappeared and the right of the families to know what happened to be able to find the remains of people who are dead and bring closure, et cetera.”
11. Wide shot, podium
12. Close-up, journalist
13. Close-up, reading glasses reflecting journalists

STORYLINE:

Fighting in parts of Syria is less intense than it was, but the reality for civilians is war crimes and crimes against humanity, together with “widespread rights violations and lawlessness”, a UN Commission of Inquiry said on Thursday.

In its latest report into the war-torn country from July 2018 to January 2019, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic noted that non-combatants had endured intense fighting in the north-west and east of the country.

“First and foremost, hostilities continue. The war is not over,” said Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.

Attacks by pro-Government forces in Idlib and western Aleppo had caused scores of civilian casualties, Mr. Pinheiro explained, as had those carried out by Syrian Democratic Forces and the international coalition in Deir-ez-Zor in the east. “The warring parties, they don’t show any interest for the Syrian population, dignity and rights,” he said. “In this respect I would like to express our shock at current escalations in Idlib, where yet again, hostilities have spiraled in recent weeks, causing death and devastation.”

Despite major gains by pro-Government forces in the last six months in retaking vast swathes of former opposition-held territory, the “new grim reality” is “a climate of fear” through arbitrary arrests and detentions following bombardments, the Commission of Inquiry’s Hanny Megally said.

“You’re finding the State is rewarding those who support it and punishing those who didn’t; you’re finding areas are getting better assistance and other areas being completely neglected,” he insisted. “International humanitarian aid is not coming in to help you. If you’re living in areas that are in control on the north-west of armed groups, or the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, you’re finding there are groups that are fighting each other. You know, the State may not be flying over and bombing, but Groups are fighting each other and you’re caught in the middle.”

On the issue of accountability for rights violators, Mr. Megally noted that “progress” was being made in pursuing alleged perpetrators of grave crimes outside the country, following reports of the arrest of suspected former Syria intelligence officers now living in Germany and France.

Inside Syria, meanwhile, many families are still desperate to learn the fate of disappeared family members.

“Justice and accountability from the victims’ perspective, from the survivors’ perspective in Syria is more than the limited focus on courts and criminal justice,” Megally said. “But it extends to looking at questions around the missing and the disappeared and the right of the families to know what happened to be able to find the remains of people who are dead and bring closure, etcetera.”

After years under siege, women, men, and children living in areas retaken by Government forces face numerous administrative challenges to access key rights.

These include civil documentation, education, medical care, and adequate housing, the Commissioners said in a statement.

In areas under the control of Syrian Democratic Forces, thousands of women, men and children continue to be unlawfully interned in makeshift camps in Raqqah, Deir-ez-Zor and Hasakah, and they are unable to leave, the report noted.

The situation of those internally displaced elsewhere also remains dire, the Commission of Inquiry warned, before emphasizing that any proposed return must be made in accordance with a rights-based approach.
The report proposes a series of practical recommendations aimed at helping returnees.

These include a substantial and permanent reduction of hostilities, rapid and safe access to humanitarian relief and guarantees by all parties that returnees will not face persecution.

The Commission - established on 22 August 2011 by the Human Rights Council – is to be present its report to the Geneva-based forum on 12 March.
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