The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, on Monday called on the UN Security Council to refer human rights violations being committed by the Assad regime and its allied militias in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“It all began seven years ago almost to the day with the torture of children, and the impunity given by the Syrian state to those torturers,” the UN rights chief told an informal meeting of the UN Security Council which was called by Great Britain, France, the United States, and the Netherlands.
Hussein underscored that any political settlement in Syria that does not take into account respect for the human rights of at least 12 million Syrians who have been forced to leave their homes will be useless because it did not protect the victims.
Hussein stressed the need to bring perpetrators of war crimes and violations of human rights in front of the International Criminal Court. The meeting was boycotted by the delegates of Russia, China, Bolivia, and Kazakhstan.
The UN Security Council was not able to hold an official meeting to discuss the human rights issue in Syria after Russia, which has consistently protected its ally Assad in the council chamber, claimed that the issue of human rights was not a subject on the council’s agenda and forced a vote.
The British Foreign Office said that Russia was trying again to cover up the atrocities being committed by the Assad regime. Britain’s deputy UN ambassador Jonathan Allen said that Russia “doesn’t want the truth of … the appalling human rights abuses taking place … We must not allow them to silence us.”
Allen added that the crimes being committed against the Syrian people must be remembered and recorded to achieve justice and reconciliation in the future. He said that we have all failed the Syrian people many times and we must not let them down now.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has recently revealed that the Assad regime forces and their allied militias used rape and other abuses against women, girls, men and boys in 20 detention centers across Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)