The Global Centre joined over 100 Syrian, regional and international humanitarian and human rights organizations in signing this statement regarding a 19 September attack on a humanitarian convoy in Aleppo.
Monday’s direct attack on a humanitarian convoy delivering life-saving aid to Aleppo marks a descent to new depths of inhumanity. As world leaders gather this week in New York, the world’s eyes are on them and history will judge their response to this criminal act.
Deliberate attacks on humanitarian workers and civilians are war crimes. This must mark a turning point: the UN Security Council cannot allow increasingly brazen violations of international humanitarian law to continue with impunity.
Heads of state are gathered in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly. Each one that accepts a lack of accountability for perpetrators and facilitators of war crimes colludes in the ongoing dissolution of international humanitarian law. These are the laws that project a common vision of humanity across the globe. They protect us all: to lose them would be to forget the lessons of both world wars and return to a time of darkness and anarchy.
Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International said a variety of aircraft, including helicopters and Russian-made fighter jets, took part in the bombardment. We call on the Security Council immediately to request the UN Secretary-General to launch a swift investigation – and report back to the Security Council within a week – in order to identify the perpetrators definitively and make recommendations on holding them to account under international law. Those who commit such crimes must understand that they cannot continue to do so with impunity.
For five years, we have seen leaders repeatedly condemn the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict in Syria. Yet they fail time and time again to hold perpetrators to account. Over and over again, the world has watched while civilians are deliberately killed and starved, hospitals are bombed and aid workers are attacked. What further horrors will Syrians to be subjected to before we reach another red line?
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5203
New York, NY 10016-4309, USA