Head of U.N. panel appeals to member states to end Syrian violence
The U.N. Human Rights Council established the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria in August 2011 to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law during the Syrian conflict. More than 100,000 people were killed since fighting broke out between Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime and opposition forces.
"We cannot continue to recite a litany of violations and abuses to little effect either on the warring parties inside Syria or those walking along the corridors of power. It is not enough to be appalled," Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the chair of the commission of inquiry, said. "There is an obligation to do what you must to bring this war to a close. This will require the international community not only to recognize, but also to demand, a diplomatic solution. It is time to do what you must to bring Syria to a just and lasting peace."
The commission provided 10 reports and updates thus far, outlining crimes such as indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment, torture, sexual violence, disappearances and massacres. Pinheiro said the individuals committing rights violations do not seem to have fear of future accountability for their actions.
"That civilians should come under such sustained unlawful attacks should shock your conscience and spur you to action," Pinheiro said. "But it has not. As the conflict drags on, you - and the world - have become accustomed to levels of violence that were previously unthinkable. The absence of decisive action, by the community of states as a whole, has nourished the culture of impunity that has developed inside Syria today. This war is a chronicle of missed opportunities on the part of influential states and the international community."
Pinheiro said it is time for the international community to act and return to negotiation to a political settlement. He added that accountability must be part of the negotiations for future peace to endure.