Human Rights Council
Special Session on the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent situation in Aleppo (SS25)
21 October 2016
Australia welcomes this special session and reaffirms the importance of the Human Rights Council’s ongoing focus on the situation of human rights in Syria, as well as the work of the Commission of Inquiry.
Australia strongly condemns the indiscriminate and barbaric attacks in Aleppo targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. These deplorable attacks are an affront to our humanity and to international humanitarian law. The shameful attacks on hospitals in Aleppo deserve particular denunciation.
The ongoing cruel denial of humanitarian access, particularly in eastern Aleppo, is exacerbating grave human suffering and cannot be tolerated. We call on all those with influence to work with parties to facilitate full and sustained humanitarian access. This will require at least 48-hour ceasefires as requested by the UN to allow food and medical aid in, and urgent medical evacuations out. This is the bare minimum that we should accept – we should continue to aim for a lasting ceasefire.
We cannot support the forced displacement of civilian populations. Peoples’ rights are better protected by providing the required humanitarian assistance into their communities, rather than creating more displaced families. Ultimately the only way to protect human rights in Syria is a negotiated political solution.
The rights to life, self-determination, liberty and security of person are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a party. The horrors of Aleppo today undermine these fundamental precepts of humanity.