[JURIST] The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] on Wednesday urged [official report; press release] the international community to respond to recent and reoccurring crimes against humanity perpetrated by both government and non-government entities during the ongoing Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder]. The commission’s official report, which is premised upon interviews and investigations occurring between July 2013 and January 2014, details widespread attacks on civilians via “siege warfare” within a climate of prevailing impunity. The commission reports that more than 250,000 Syrians are besieged in Syria, where they are subjected to “relentless shelling and bombardment” and denied basic necessities like food and medical care. The commission reports that the government has used “incendiary” and chemical weapons, especially sarin gas, against civilians and combatants on multiple occasions. According to the commission, the UN Security Council [official website] “bears responsibility” for continually “allowing” the warring parties to violate international law with impunity. The report is slated to go before the UN Human Rights Council [official website] on March 18.
The Syrian Civil War has persisted for almost three years. The conflict has been highlighted by countless human rights violations and use of chemical weaponry, which has created mounting pressure among the international community to find an end to the conflict. In February, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported [JURIST report] that both sides have been committing human rights violations. The day before, Syria agreed [JURIST report] to dispose of their chemical weapons. The UN released a report [JURIST report] earlier this month to the Security Council, which highlights the severe suffering faced by children in Syria during the period between March 2011 and November 2013. The report states that the Syrian government and military allies have killed and tortured extensive numbers of children, while opposition forces have recruited children to aid in combat and have summarily executed children, as well.