The Nordic foreign and defence ministers agreed at their meting in Bodø, North Norway, on 2–3 September to support the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre. The centre will play a key role in documenting the extensive human rights abuses that are being committed in the country.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “The situation in Syria is steadily worsening. Every day, there are new reports of human rights abuses. Documenting these abuses is important in itself, not least with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable. The centre’s work will also be important for paving the way towards a peaceful transition and reconciliation process in Syria in the future.”
The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre was recently established with headquarters in Lyon, France. The centre is an independent body that will collect, store and analyse documentation of violations of human rights and humanitarian law with a view to contributing to a future transitional justice process in Syria.
“I believe the Nordic support for the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre will send a clear message. Norway will provide both political and financial support for the centre,” said Mr Støre.
The human rights situation in Syria has deteriorated significantly during 2012. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has found an increase in extrajudicial executions, and incidences of torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and sexual violence. Failure to respect the rights of children has been endemic. Recent reports have also documented systematic attacks on civilians queuing to buy food.