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UN: Syria Unsafe for Refugee Returns

Published : 15-09-2021

UN: Syria Unsafe for Refugee Returns

The upsurge in fighting and the return to violence are cause for alarm, according to the 24th report of the UN Syria Commission of Inquiry released on September 14 and stressing that the country is not fit for safe and dignified returns of refugees.

“One decade in, the parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity and infringing the basic human rights of Syrians. The war on Syrian civilians continues, and it is difficult for them to find security or safe haven in this war-torn country,” the Chair of the Commission, Paulo Pinheiro told a press conference in Geneva.

According to the report, as President Assad enters his fourth term in office – controlling about 70% of the territory and 40% of the pre-war population – there seem to be no moves to unite the country or seek reconciliation. On the contrary, incidents of arbitrary and incommunicado detention by Government forces continue unabated. 

The Commission said it has continued to document not only torture and sexual violence in detention but also custodial deaths and enforced disappearances.

Further, during the reporting period, the Syrian economy has been rapidly deteriorating, causing bread prices to soar and a striking more than 50 per cent increase in food insecurity compared with last year.

“The overall situation in Syria looks increasingly bleak. In addition to intensifying violence, the economy is plummeting, Mesopotamia’s famous riverbeds are at their driest in decades, and widespread community transmission of the COVID-19 seems unstoppable by a health care system decimated by the war and lacking oxygen and vaccines. This is no time for anyone to think that Syria is a country fit for its refugees to return”, Commissioner Karen Koning AbuZayd stated.

Recent months have seen increased fighting and violence both in the northwest, northeast and south of the country, according to the report which covers the period 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

The lull in hostilities in northwest Syria, brought about by the March 2020 ceasefire agreement between the Russian Federation and Turkey, began unravelling with aerial bombardments and shelling. Medical facilities, such as the de-conflicted hospital in Atarib, markets and residential areas have been struck by aerial and ground attacks, often indiscriminately, causing numerous civilian casualties.

Meanwhile the southwest experienced fighting not seen since before the 2018 Russian-brokered agreement between the Syrian Government and the armed opposition groups. In the town of Dar’a Al-Balad, the birthplace of the uprising in 2011, pro-Government forces imposed a siege characterised by heavy artillery shelling, leaving tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside without sufficient access to food nor health care, forcing thousands of men, women and children to flee.

“Shockingly, the past months have seen the return of sieges and siege-like tactics, in Dar’a, Quineitra and Rif Damascus governorates. Three years after the suffering that the Commission documented in eastern Ghouta, another tragedy has been unfolding before our eyes in Dar’a Al-Balad”, Commissioner Hanny Megally said.

In the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn regions of Aleppo, civilians live in fear of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that are frequently detonated in crowded civilian areas - striking markets and busy streets and claiming the lives of many. The Commission documented the killing and maiming of at least 243 women, men and children in seven such attacks – but the full toll on civilians is considerably higher. Indiscriminate shelling also continued, including on 12 June when munitions struck multiple locations in Afrin city, killing and injuring many and destroying parts of the “de-conflicted” al-Shifa hospital.

The Commission will present its report to the Human Rights Council on Thursday 23 September at 15.00.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which comprises Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, and Mr. Hanny Megally was established ten years ago, on 12 September 2011. It has been mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.

 

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/12178

The upsurge in fighting and the return to violence are cause for alarm, according to the 24th report of the UN Syria Commission of Inquiry released on September 14 and stressing that the country is not fit for safe and dignified returns of refugees.

“One decade in, the parties to the conflict continue to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity and infringing the basic human rights of Syrians. The war on Syrian civilians continues, and it is difficult for them to find security or safe haven in this war-torn country,” the Chair of the Commission, Paulo Pinheiro told a press conference in Geneva.

According to the report, as President Assad enters his fourth term in office – controlling about 70% of the territory and 40% of the pre-war population – there seem to be no moves to unite the country or seek reconciliation. On the contrary, incidents of arbitrary and incommunicado detention by Government forces continue unabated. 

The Commission said it has continued to document not only torture and sexual violence in detention but also custodial deaths and enforced disappearances.

Further, during the reporting period, the Syrian economy has been rapidly deteriorating, causing bread prices to soar and a striking more than 50 per cent increase in food insecurity compared with last year.

“The overall situation in Syria looks increasingly bleak. In addition to intensifying violence, the economy is plummeting, Mesopotamia’s famous riverbeds are at their driest in decades, and widespread community transmission of the COVID-19 seems unstoppable by a health care system decimated by the war and lacking oxygen and vaccines. This is no time for anyone to think that Syria is a country fit for its refugees to return”, Commissioner Karen Koning AbuZayd stated.

Recent months have seen increased fighting and violence both in the northwest, northeast and south of the country, according to the report which covers the period 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

The lull in hostilities in northwest Syria, brought about by the March 2020 ceasefire agreement between the Russian Federation and Turkey, began unravelling with aerial bombardments and shelling. Medical facilities, such as the de-conflicted hospital in Atarib, markets and residential areas have been struck by aerial and ground attacks, often indiscriminately, causing numerous civilian casualties.

Meanwhile the southwest experienced fighting not seen since before the 2018 Russian-brokered agreement between the Syrian Government and the armed opposition groups. In the town of Dar’a Al-Balad, the birthplace of the uprising in 2011, pro-Government forces imposed a siege characterised by heavy artillery shelling, leaving tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside without sufficient access to food nor health care, forcing thousands of men, women and children to flee.

“Shockingly, the past months have seen the return of sieges and siege-like tactics, in Dar’a, Quineitra and Rif Damascus governorates. Three years after the suffering that the Commission documented in eastern Ghouta, another tragedy has been unfolding before our eyes in Dar’a Al-Balad”, Commissioner Hanny Megally said.

In the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn regions of Aleppo, civilians live in fear of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that are frequently detonated in crowded civilian areas - striking markets and busy streets and claiming the lives of many. The Commission documented the killing and maiming of at least 243 women, men and children in seven such attacks – but the full toll on civilians is considerably higher. Indiscriminate shelling also continued, including on 12 June when munitions struck multiple locations in Afrin city, killing and injuring many and destroying parts of the “de-conflicted” al-Shifa hospital.

The Commission will present its report to the Human Rights Council on Thursday 23 September at 15.00.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which comprises Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, and Mr. Hanny Megally was established ten years ago, on 12 September 2011. It has been mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.

 

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/12178