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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rape, Massacres, Child Soldiers used in Syrian Civil War

Child holds bullet casings (creative commons: hdptcar)
Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria reporting that the conflict in the country has taken a dangerous turn. Human rights violations are taking place on both sides. The Syrian government has been responsible for violations including torture, murder, rape and the recruitment and use of child soldiers against the civilian population. The anti-government Syrian rebels were also named in the report for committing human atrocities.

The rebels, according to the report, “have committed war crimes, including murder, execution without due process, torture, hostage-taking and attacking protected objects.”

The Syrian rebels have been accused of recruiting and using child soldiers, too.

 Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the Commission, told the press, “Tens of thousands of lives have been lost. Over six million Syrians have fled their homes, each with a story of devastation and loss. Entire communities now live in tents or containers outside Syria's borders, with millions more displaced inside Syria. A society has been ripped apart. Failure to bring about a political settlement has allowed the conflict not only to deepen in its intransigence but also to widen – expanding to new actors and to new, previously unimaginable crimes. For the Commission, charged with investigating violations of international law committed by all parties to the conflict, any response must be founded upon the protection of civilians. The nature of the war raging in Syria is such that the number of violations by all sides goes hand in hand with the intensity of the conflict itself."

Chemical weapon findings were not in the report which reflected findings from May 15 to July 15 of this year. France and the United States are convinced that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its civilian population. The report found that the Syrian government was responsible for 8 massacres during the time frame of the report and that the rebel group was responsible for one.

 The Commission believes that external military force could make matters worse for the people living in the country. They are hopeful that a political settlement can be met before it is too late. How far do human rights violations have to go before something is done to stop the madness? It has already escalated to murder, rape, torture, child soldiers and chemical weapons. Isn’t time to say enough’s enough?

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