A UN children’s rights expert on Monday stated that Syria’s continued infliction of harm on children [press release] is a “brutal abdication of human rights obligations they have committed to respect.” Benyam Dawit Mezmur [official profile, PDF], Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child [official website], released the statement criticizing Syria, as well as Russia, for the ongoing attacks in eastern Aleppo that have killed and maimed children. Despite having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] and the Optional Protocol [text] regarding children in armed conflict, the attacks are hitting places like schools and hospitals. Another concern was the use of “bunker-busting bombs,” which is preventing safety even underground. Referencing Omran Daqneesh, the young boy in a picture that went viral [TIME report] in August, Mezmur called on Syria and Russia, and the rest of the world, to show children peace soon.
The conflict in Syria [JURIST backgrounder] has continued for five years in a civil war surrounding the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad. Almost a week earlier, attacks in Aleppo, Syria’s capital, were called a “breach of international humanitarian law” in a joint statement by EU officials [JURIST report]. In August a top UN official submitted a report detailing an in-depth investigation into chemical warfare [JURIST report] used by Islamic State and Assad in Syria. That same month Amnesty International [advocacy website] said that a suspected chlorine gas attack in Aleppo could amount to a war crime [JURIST report]. In July Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] cluster bombs have been targeted at civilians and rebels in Northern Syria. In June UN human rights experts called for the immediate protection [JURIST report] of thousands of Syrian civilians.