Statement delivered by Craig Hawke, Permanent Representative of the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 23 April 2019

Madame President,

I would like to commence by thanking the Head of the Mechanism, Madam Marchi-Uhel for presenting the third report of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for the crimes committed in the Syrian Arab Republic. New Zealand appreciates the opportunity to discuss the important work of the Mechanism in this plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

Like others who have spoken today, New Zealand reiterates its strong support for the Mechanism and its work. We continue to stress the importance of working collectively against impunity for the horrific crimes committed in Syria, and the critical role of the Mechanism in these efforts.

New Zealand is pleased to observe from the report of the Mechanism that progress is being made toward the fulfilment of its mandate. The Mechanism’s own structural investigation, and its cooperation with a national jurisdiction resulting in the opening of two case files in the reporting period, highlights the important work that the Mechanism is undertaking to establish individual criminal accountability.

New Zealand also commends the Mechanism’s growing collection of evidence with the assistance of new technologies, and expanding engagement with States, international organisations and civil society. We further welcome the efforts by the Mechanism to integrate gender into its work. We urge it to also take such measures with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity, children, and persons with disabilities, as foreshadowed in the report.

New Zealand strongly echoes the call for sustainable funding for the Mechanism to be approved from the 2020 regular budget of the United Nations. As the report makes clear, the scale and importance of the work to be undertaken by the Mechanism is immense. The Mechanism must be provided with the resources it needs to do the job we have asked of it.   We will continue to follow the work of the Mechanism closely. You can count on New Zealand’s continued support.