Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 3: General Debate
- Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
9 March 2018
Thank you Mr. President,
The need to counteract systematic human rights violations is as dire as ever. Yet, EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice are gravely concerned that even when the most atrocious of crimes against humanity occur before the eyes of the international community, their prevention takes a backseat behind some Member States’ geopolitical and other interests. The international community is failing to protect uncountable civilians from persecution, untold suffering and death – in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan and Myanmar to name a few.
7 years have passed since the beginning of the bloody Syrian civil war. Today, the suffering of civilians remaining inside the country is immeasurable – marked by deliberate starvation, airstrikes and ground-based attacks by Government forces and their allies.
Syria’s Eastern Ghouta is witnessing unprecedented massacres since mid-November, with hundreds of civilians being killed as air raids target civilian structures and as entire buildings sheltering families collapse with women, children and men trapped inside. The voracious aerial bombardment following the prolonged military siege on Eastern Ghouta is aimed at draining the life out of one of the last remaining opposition strongholds.
The international community has the responsibility to act as united front to prevent atrocity crimes wherever they occur. The pledge of “never again” must motivate us to strengthen international cooperation on early warning and prevention of atrocity crimes, and on transitional justice mechanisms including accountability for perpetrators, in an effort to break cycles of impunity and marginalization and ensure non-recurrence.