Syria: Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for protection of civilians in Idlib


Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls to immediate halt of hostilities in Idlib. All parties to conflict should ensure compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly on protection of civilians. The humanitarian access and cross-border humanitarian aid should be ensured by all warrying parties. UN member states should comply with and fully implement the UNSC resolutio

The confrontation between the government and armed groups in Syria resulted in complex civil conflict with involvement of regional and world powers, the non-state armed groups taking the advantage of the chaotic situation. It is estimated that more than half a million killed, including more than 230,000 civilians since the beginning of the Syrian humanitarian crisis in March of 2011.1 In 2019, the Humanitarian

Response Team of Whole Syria assessed that 11.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 4.7 million people in acute need of humanitarian assistance. Children and youth, millions of whom have known nothing but conflict, comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance.

Horrendous large-scale systematic human rights violations were and are being committed by the governmental forces, coalition military forces and non-state armed groups. The Government of Syria bears the primary responsibility for protection of civilians. However, it is obvious that this government is either unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with the provisions of international human rights and humanitarian law. Despite UNSC resolutions, violence in Syria has dramatically intensified and killings increased. The humanitarian access was gradually diminished, humanitarian response chronically underfunded. The widespread and systematic crimes could be qualified as international crimes set forth by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The commissioned war crimes and crimes against humanity are not investigated, the perpetrators enjoy impunity, victims are denied their right to remedy and reparation.

Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties is alarmed by the escalation of hostilities in Idlib since November 2019 in flagrant disregard for imperatives of international human rights and humanitarian law that results in more deaths, people fleeing the area and disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.

Reportedly, 100 air raids were reportedly carried out across Idleb and more than 28 barrel bombs dropped over areas such as Ma’arrat An Nu’man and Kafruma on 15 January. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that more than 390,000 people had been displaced from their homes in northwest Syria since 1 December 2019, around 80% of whom are women and children.2 The UN Office of High    Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed 83 verified civilian deaths in Idlib from 20 to o 30 January, including 13 women, 14 girls and 20 boys were killed as a result of airstrikes and ground operations by parties to the conflict. The representatives of World Health Organization referred to 53 health facilities that have ceased operations in northwest Syria in January and two separate attacks on healthcare facilities had taken place, claiming 10 lives and leading to numerous injuries

International legal framework: The Syrian Arab Republic has ratified the main international human rights treaties and it is a party to all four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol of 1977: the first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war, the second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war, the third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war and the fourth Geneva Convention affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory. The Additional Protocol I strengthens the protection of victims in international conflicts. The Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court with the jurisdiction over international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes was signed by Syria but not ratified yet. Despite non-ratification, the Syrian Arab Republic is still obliged to refrain from acts that would “defeat the objects and purpose of [the] treaty” according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (art. 18), to which the State acceded in 1970.

 http://Idlib statement_Syria_Feb 2020.pdf

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