Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220401 - UN General Assembly Meeting on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria)


1 April 2022

Statement by H.E. the Hon Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you, Mr President. And thank you Ms Marchi-Uhel for your insightful briefing today.

Australia stands in unwavering support of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria.

There is no prospect of credible, lasting peace without justice.

Accountability for serious international crimes must be a global priority.

Any suggestion that international scrutiny of these most heinous violations of international law is inconsistent with principles of sovereignty and non‑interference wilfully undermines the very purpose and spirit of the United Nations Charter.

It is incumbent upon all of us here today to deter and disrupt atrocity crimes by holding perpetrators to account.

Sadly, we do not need to search far in this world today to see that impunity breeds more violence, impunity breeds more conflict, impunity breeds more atrocities.

Indeed, we need look no further than the tragic events unfolding in Ukraine.

There, we are witnessing Russia commit flagrant violations of international law with its unprovoked, unjustified and illegal invasion of a sovereign nation.

Australia is also deeply concerned that many of Russia’s actions also constitute war crimes.

Russia’s crimes in Ukraine must not go unpunished.

Australia welcomes the eighth report of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria.

In particular, we welcome the report’s updates on the progress of national jurisdictions in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed in Syria.

This is as strong an indication as any of the value of the Mechanism.

It also serves as a reminder that we, the members of the United Nations, can continue to advance accountability and justice, even in the most difficult circumstances.

That said, we know that there is still more work to be done.

Allegations of extremely concerning events in Syria continue to be reported, including recent reports of hostage taking, arbitrary detention and the continued use of siege tactics by Syrian forces.

We must continue to pursue accountability for crimes committed in Syria.

We strongly urge all members to speak up in defence of accountability and justice in Syria.

Impunity must not prevail, in Syria or elsewhere.

Australia continues to call for full cooperation with the Mechanism by all parties to the conflict.

As its latest report evinces, the Mechanism’s work continues to be aboslutely essential. We urge all Member States to support the Mechanism in this important mission.