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Updated On: Monday, 24 September 2018

UNHCHR Zeid on Eastern Ghouta

Content by: South-South News

6 March 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — Perpetrators of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Syria, especially in the besieged area of eastern Ghouta, will be held accountable, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on March 2.

Addressing delegates at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the start of an Urgent Debate on the situation in eastern Ghouta, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, “The recent death toll in eastern Ghouta has reportedly been among the highest registered in the past seven years of conflict. People living in what was once an ordinary suburb – human beings who share the rights and hopes of all of us here – are trapped and battered by bombs, and deprived of every human right – above all, the right to life.”

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on February 24 requiring all parties to the Syrian conflict to immediately cease hostilities for at least 30 consecutive days, to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance and evacuation of the critically sick and wounded. However, the High Commissioner said that civilians in eastern Ghouta have reported that airstrikes and shelling continue.

He said, “We have spoken to people in eastern Ghouta who say they do not dare attempt to leave their shelters, given the persistent ground and air strikes and the sheer uncertainty about what will happen even if they survive their flight. Satellite imagery showing the shocking scale of the destruction of towns across eastern Ghouta starkly reveals how dangerous any attempt to flee could be.”

Hussein told the Council that the perpetrators of the horrors in Syria will be brought to justice.

He noted, “Civilians are being pounded into submission or death. The perpetrators of these crimes must know they are being identified; that dossiers are being built up with a view to their prosecution; and that they will be held accountable for what they have done. Let it not be thought that the perpetrators will get away with this. Others once thought that too, and saw themselves as patriots – before they were arrested.”

The High Commissioner also said “the wheels of justice may be slow, but they do grind” and that the Human Rights Council can have a real impact in ensuring that there will be justice for the suffering that has been inflicted on the Syrian people.”


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