UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

© OCHA/Hedinn Halldorsson An estimated 26,000 children aged 3-17 in Al Hol camp of Syria’s Hasakeh governorate have been out of schools for years due to conflict and displacement and are in need of education services.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The relentless campaign of airstrikes in Syria has been met with a “collective shrug,” the top United Nations human rights official said on Friday, denouncing the world’s apparent indifference to the mounting civilian casualties as a “failure of leadership” by the world’s most powerful countries.

“Despite repeated calls by the United Nations to respect the principle of precaution and distinction in their conduct of hostilities, this latest relentless campaign of airstrikes by the Government and its allies has continued to hit medical facilities, schools and other civilian infrastructure such as markets and bakeries,” said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Drawing attention to the death toll caused by a succession of airstrikes in Idlib and other parts of north-western Syria, she pointed out that “these are civilian objects,” and given the persistent pattern of such attacks “it seems highly unlikely” that they were all hit by accident.

“Intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes, and those who have ordered them or carried them out are criminally responsible for their actions,” underscored the High Commissioner.

As a result of airstrikes over the past 10 days alone, eight locations in Idlib and two in rural Aleppo have witnessed civilian casualties, resulting in at least 103 civilian deaths, including some 26 children.

Ms. Bachelet expressed concern that the continued carnage in Syria “is no longer on the international radar.”

“Several hundreds of thousands of children, women and men have been killed in Syria since 2011,” she flagged. “So many that it is no longer even possible to give a credible estimate.”

During the early years of this “murderous conflict”, when the casualties were in the tens, then hundreds, then thousands, the human rights chief said that “the world showed considerable concern about what was happening.”

“Now, airstrikes kill and maim significant numbers of civilians several times a week, and the response seems to be a collective shrug, with the Security Council paralyzed by the persistent failure of its five Permanent Members to agree to use their power and influence to stop the fighting and killing once and for all,” Ms. Bachelet bemoaned, saying this “failure of leadership by the world’s most powerful nations” has resulted “in tragedy on such a vast scale that we no longer seem to be able to relate to it at all.”

Recent attacks

  • 16 July, Maar Shurin, Idlib
  • 21 July, Urum al-Jawz and Kafrouma, Idlib
  • 22 July, Ma’arat al-Nu’man, Idlib
  • 22 July, Saraqib, Idlib
  • 24 July, Ariha, Muhambal and Tabish, Idlib

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has documented the killing of at least 450 civilians, including the 91 by airstrikes over the past ten days, since the latest campaign by the Government and its allies in north-west Syria began more than three months ago.

Ms. Bachelet said her staff is also continuing to gather information on three recent attacks, resulting in at least 11 civilian casualties, carried out by non-State armed groups on Government-controlled areas, in the town of Masyaf, in Hama on 21 July, and in the al-Hamadaniya and al-Jamiliya neighbourhoods of Aleppo city on 22 and 24 July.

Despite being the subject of the 2017 de-escalation agreement, and the 2018 de-militarized zone agreement, “Idlib and surrounding areas are witnessing a grave military escalation with dire human rights and humanitarian consequences for the millions of civilians trying to survive there,” according to Ms. Bachelet.

She urged “influential parties”, including those that agreed to reduce hostilities as part of the de-escalation agreement, to “urgently use their influence” to halt the current military campaign and “bring the warring parties back to the negotiating table”.

“It is essential that there is a cessation of hostilities in order to give the on-going political negotiations room to breathe”, the High Commissioner concluded. “The alternative is just more mindless death and destruction in a war without end.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Prepare for a ‘new normal’ as lockdown restrictions ease: Monday’s COVID-19 WHO briefing

Rare Disease Day: a new EU platform to support better diagnosis and treatment

Seaweed, enzymes and compostable cups: Can ‘Big Food’ take on plastic and win?

States with power and influence to end suffering of Yemenis must take action ‘immediately’ – UN rights chief

ECB’s €1.14 trillion again unifies Eurozone; Germany approves sovereign debt risks to be pooled

The Indian case: health policies need to keep pace with public health literacy

EU Youth Conference in Amsterdam: enabling young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe

What washing your hands can teach you about global change

UN Convention that promotes mediation to resolve trade disputes moves closer to entry into force

UNICEF urges all countries to provide ‘Super Dads’ with paid leave

Appreciation of euro to continue

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

This man is sleeping out in the Davos cold to make a point about homelessness

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

UN, Somali Government seek $80 million in immediate relief for flood-affected populations

3 reasons why AI won’t replace human translators… yet

More effort needed to improve equity in education

One in three Venezuelans not getting enough to eat, UN study finds

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

The dark side of Diwali, festival of lights

Security Council extends mandate of UN Interim Force in Lebanon for a year

Pride in health care during Pride Month: Are we ready for a dignified health care for LGBTQI+ patients?

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis

4 reasons why women should lead the G7 agenda in 2018

Electronic cigarette – is it really a safer alternative to smoking?

Female leaders warn about the erosion of women’s rights

Microplastics have been found in Rocky Mountain rainwater

Why the answer to a more sustainable future could lie within the platform economy

This is how India can become the next Silicon Valley

The role of junior entrepreneurs as a bridge between academia and business world

Climate change brings a host of other risks for businesses

Ahead of State of the Union the European Youth Forum highlights lack of action on youth employment

30 years of tissue engineering, what has been achieved?

Using the quarantine to your advantage

The glimmers of hope in the latest dire climate report

EU adopts €55 million support package for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon to mitigate coronavirus pandemic

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

Quarantine: A mental health guide for every mood

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

Recession: the best argument for growth

Study: Trade supports over 36 million jobs across the EU

Italy should boost spending and strengthen cooperation and integration of employment services to help more people into work

‘Highly explosive’ escalation of conflict and displacement across Syria’s Idlib, says top UN official

Companies can help build a more inclusive world. Here’s how

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Constitution of the 9th legislature of the European Parliament

Banking package: Parliament and Council reach an agreement

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

How technology can help India breathe more easily

European Union supports survivors of sexual violence in conflict

COP21 Business update: Companies urge now for carbon pricing as coal is still a big issue

A multipolar world brings back the national champions

Why is the Strait of Hormuz so important?

The French army is enlisting sci-fi writers to predict the future

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s