World Bulletin / News Desk
“The Security Council is failing Syrians by not agreeing on measures for basic provisions,” the UN Rights chief Navi Pillay said on Wednesday.
Sieges imposed by Syrian Government forces and pro-Government militias, and armed opposition groups, have resulted in severe hardship, suffering and deaths of civilians - a clear breach of obligations by international human rights laws, a UN Human Rights Council report said.
"An estimated 240,000 people remain trapped in areas under siege in Syria," the report noted.
The paper focuses on several ongoing sieges laid by parties to the conflict in the Governorates of Rural Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said: “The situation in Old Homs has been in the spotlight recently, with evacuated families telling of the severe hardship they endured during more than 600 days of life under siege. This paper highlights several other areas in the country in which people have been trapped in similar conditions and are living in utter misery,” the High Commissioner said.
“Starvation as a method of warfare and, by extension, the imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of the civilian population by depriving it of goods essential for survival are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” Pillay warned.
The report noted that more than 173,000 people are believed to be trapped in Ghouta. Religious clerics have reportedly issued edicts allowing residents to eat cats and dogs in order to survive.
In Yarmouk, dozens of deaths have been reported due to various factors, including from starvation, and the consumption of rotten food, as well as the chronic shortage of medical supplies and lack of medical expertise to treat sick people and pregnant women trapped in the camp.
Since July 2012, multiple armed opposition groups have been imposing tight ground sieges in Nubul and Zahra in northern Aleppo, which have prevented food, fuel and medical supplies from entering through checkpoints. Almost 45,000 people are estimated to be trapped in these villages, the report stated.
"The limited humanitarian aid that has been allowed into certain besieged areas in the last few months remains precarious, subject to parties abiding by ceasefire agreements which are often broken," the report said.
“International human rights law and international humanitarian law require rapid, continued and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need, and not ad-hoc deliveries and operations,” Pillay stressed, saying that limiting humanitarian access to civilians in desperate need may amount to war crime.
"Armed opposition groups have also failed to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law by preventing access to food, water and medical supplies by populations they are besieging," the report said.Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2014, 11:27