We remain deeply alarmed by the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation across Syria. The renewed and indiscriminate attacks by the Syrian Government and its allies on the besieged areas of Eastern Aleppo have had devastating consequences for its civilian population and the city’s remaining social infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped in Aleppo, largely deprived of access to potentially life-saving relief. The attack on a humanitarian convoy last month and the bombing and shelling of hospitals, rescue structures and schools are against the minimal provisions of international humanitarian law and, if done deliberatively, constitute crimes against humanity.
We recognize that there are violations committed by many parties; noting that the indiscriminate use of weapons known as ‘hell-fire cannons’ by opposition groups in highly populated areas violates the basic tenants of humanitarian law. While we welcome the current ceasefire, this fleeting respite does not address the pressing humanitarians need of Aleppo’s beleaguered population.
The wanton use of violence must cease entirely if there is any hope of finding a negotiated settlement. We believe that there can be no military solution and that there is an imperative to establish a meaningful dialogue to bring about an end to the conflict, according to the Geneva Communiqué. We believe civil society has a central role to play in building a peaceful future, through dialogue and respect for fundamental rights.
We reiterate the earlier call of the High Commissioner: “Let us not forget that the destruction of cities like Warsaw, Stalingrad and Dresden, and the horror inflicted upon their civilians contributed to a great extent to the foundation of the United Nations. We cannot afford to fail Aleppo. We cannot afford to continue to fail the thousands of children trapped in this city awaiting their slaughter.”
CIVICUS therefore calls for:
- The immediate cessation of all hostilities, including bombings and military flights over Aleppo.
- Unhindered access to humanitarian aid to all people in need.
- Creating an independent special inquiry by the Commission of Inquiry into the events in and around Aleppo to hold perpetrators of these abuses and violations to account and to bring the report to a Special Session of the HRC early in 2017.
- The adoption of the resolution before us and the rejection of all amendments.