As the fall of Aleppo looms amid untold humanitarian catastrophe, more than 220 civil society organizations from 45 countries have issued a declaration saying that the UN Security Council has “failed to uphold its responsibility to protect the Syrian people.” Signatories to the declaration, including CARE, Amnesty International, Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, Pan-African Lawyers Union and Save the Children, have also demanded that UN Member States take urgent and meaningful action to stop the atrocities and protect civilians.
“Aleppo is on the brink of becoming another Rwanda or Srebrenica.” said Dr Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. “We are witnessing yet another moment of global inaction in the face of human annihilation. Given the shameful deadlock in the Security Council, members states in the General Assembly must act within their power and demand an immediate end to attacks on civilians and accountability for the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.”
While the UN Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the UN General Assembly also has responsibilities in that regard under the UN Charter. A “Uniting for Peace” procedure adopted by the General Assembly in 1950 allows the General Assembly to recommend collective action when the UN Security Council fails to uphold its responsibility because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members.
Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, President of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said, “It is important to face down the worst of humanity, look it straight in the eyes and refuse to blink. But we are closing our eyes to what is happening in Aleppo. If we are to not act now in the face of such depravity and disregard for basic norms – when will we ever?”
The civil society declaration coincides with new research by Human Rights Watch which shows that war crimes were committed in Aleppo during the Russian-backed Syrian campaign in September and October 2016, with at least 440 civilians killed including 90 children.
“The situation unfolding in Aleppo is the ultimate test of the international system,” said Eduarda Hamann, Coordinator of the Building Peace program at the Igarapé Institute in Brazil. “The community of nations cannot stand by while tens of thousands of Syrians are violently forced to evacuate their homes. Member states of the UN should urgently come together to invoke the Uniting for Peace protocol to break the Security Council impasse and stop the horrors of Aleppo.”
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 95 countries and reached more than 65 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
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