Senior United Nations officials have underscored the obligation on all parties to the conflict in Syria, and the international community, to protect civilians from atrocity crimes as dozens of people in eastern Ghouta and Idlib province have been killed in recent airstrikes, and schools and hospitals are being deliberately destroyed by the Assad regime and its allies.
“We cannot stand by silently in the face of indiscriminate violence and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Adama Dieng the UN Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, and Ivan Simonovic, the UN Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, in a joint statement issued Thursday.
“We urge all stakeholders, including the Security Council, to condemn this violence, and we urge the parties to the conflict to ensure that basic principles of humanitarian law are protected, in particular with regards to proportionality and distinction.”
The UN officials underscored that indiscriminate attacks or those directly targeting civilians or civilian objects are a violation of fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.
“All actors involved in the conflict in Syria have an obligation to ensure that these fundamental principles are respected,” underscored the statement.
“The level of violence and suffering inflicted on the Syrian people after almost seven years of conflict should not be tolerated. More than six million people have been internally displaced by the conflict, many displaced multiple times, and more than five million Syrians have sought refuge in other countries.”
“It is estimated that more than half of the country’s basic infrastructure is damaged or destroyed and over 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.”
The statement went on to say that “since mid-November 2017, the estimated 393,000 people in Eastern Ghouta have been subjected to airstrikes, shelling and bombardment on an almost daily basis by government forces and their allies.”
“These people are living under extreme conditions as a result of a siege of the area by the Syrian Government, with some facing severe food shortages and malnutrition.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)