Human Rights Council
Twenty Ninth session
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
1. The war in Syria has entered its fifth year and shows no signs of abating. It has mutated into a multi-sided and highly fluid war of attrition where the belligerents have repeatedly experienced surges and setbacks. This has served only to fuel the illusion that a military victory remains possible.
2. Civilians are the main victims of an ever-accelerating cycle of violence. Syrians continue to lose their lives, homes, and livelihoods in a conflict in which there is little, if any, attempt to adhere to international law. Beyond their failure to protect civilians, the warring parties’ seemingly deliberate decision to put civilians in harm’s way has led to unspeakable suffering.
3. This update covers the period from 15 March to 15 June 2015. It examines the impact of the conduct of the warring parties and lack of humanitarian access on civilians.
More recently documented incidents reinforce earlier findings that the main cause of civilian casualties, mass displacement, and destruction is the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, attacks on civilian and protected objects, and the punitive imposition of sieges and blockades.
4. While this update focuses on violations committed during the conduct of hostilities, it must be emphasised that mass violations concerning the treatment of civilians and hors de combat fighters continued to be received. In particular, corroborated accounts of unlawful killing, torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and the taking of hostages have been documented. Centres of violence include Government detention centres, prisons and checkpoints; ISIS-controlled territory; and recent ground attacks in northern and southern Syria by anti-Government armed groups, sometimes operating in conjunction with Jabhat Al-Nusra. These violations will be detailed in the Commission’s official report to the 30th Session of the UN Human Council.