UN Human Rights Council: 22nd session
Oral intervention: Item 4 – ID on report of COI on Syria
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
12 March 2013
Delivered by: Paola Salwan Daher
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies welcomes the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, particularly references concerning the need for the International Criminal Court to be activated by the Security Council. We additionally commend the cross regional efforts taken on 14 January towards ensuring international accountability for international crimes committed in Syria.
For the past two years, CIHRS and other actors have been calling on the international community to uphold its responsibility to end the war being waged on innocent civilians in Syria. Today, as the list of causalities grows to include tens of thousands of people, with several million affected, the conflict in Syria may have already reached the point of no return.
We reiterate the Commission’s severe worries with regards to the rapid militarization of the conflict, including the increased emergence of several extremist armed groups. Moreover, evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes carried out by government forces, including wide spread and systematic torture, murder, rape and enforced disappearances continues to emerge. The Commission has also found evidence that anti-government armed groups may be responsible for potential war crimes, albeit not on the scale committed by the government.
Attacks and indiscriminate shelling of civilian populated areas, including razing of entire neighborhoods, continues unabated. The use of children in the conflict by both sides is also on the rise. There are strong indications to the potential use of cluster munitions by government forces. Additionally, the radicalization of the conflict can no longer be overlooked or marginalized.
Equally deteriorating is the humanitarian situation in the country, which is reaching truly catastrophic levels. The international community must ensure increased and sustained humanitarian aid, including efforts, possibly through a Security Council authorization, to allow access to cross-border aid to populated areas controlled by those involved in the conflict.
Make no mistake- it was the inability of the international community to hold the use of violence committed against civilians that has lead to the current situation in Syria. How many more millions need to be killed or tortured or made into a refugees before their lives are worth more than the games being played at the UN?
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