Monday, 01 February 2016 15:27

UN Rights Chief: Starving Civilians Is Crime against Humanity, Potential War Crime

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that starvation of Syrian civilians is a potential war crime and a crime against humanity that should be prosecuted and not covered by any amnesty linked to ending the conflict.

Speaking in a news briefing in Geneva earlier today, the top UN human rights official said that “in the case of Syria, we are there to remind everyone that where there are allegations that reach the threshold of war crimes or crimes against humanity that amnesties are not permissible."

Pointing to the what he said was the starvation of people in the town of Madaya, and the siege of 15 other towns and cities in Syria, Al Hussein said this was "not just a war crime but a crime against humanity if proven in court."

"We estimate that tens of thousands are held in arbitrary detention and clearly they need to be released," Al Hussein added.

Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Hisham Marwa said last week that "the Assad regime’s siege and bombardment of civilians violate UN Security Council resolutions. Assad has been committing these crimes under military and political cover by Russia. Meanwhile, the Assad regime continues to deceive the international community and procrastinate with regard to the political process.”

"Assad seeks to thwart any possible political solution through besieging civilians amid the international community’s failure to enforce UN Security Council resolutions which call for lifting the siege and the delivery of aid to the besieged areas," Marwa added. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)

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