The words “our generation’s shame” was used by Stephen O’Brien last month, when describing the Security Council’s inability to act when it comes to the situation for the civilians of Aleppo. In a press release, the Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office, Sherine Tadros, also decided to describe the Security Council “shameful.”
“It is becoming clearer every day that the UN Security Council has failed the Syrian people.” Those are the words of Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office, as the organization appeals to the member states of the United Nations to call an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to do what the Security Council cannot. Besides Amnesty, 222 other civil society organizations have signed the appeal.
The appeal calls on member states to “demand and end to all unlawful attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, and immediate and unhindered humanitarian access so that life-saving aid can reach all those in need.” The appeal also highlights the need for accountability, and that those committing serious crimes against international law are brought to justice.
It is not the first time the Security Council has been criticized over its inability to act over the war in Syria. During the last few month, UN staff such as Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, and Staffan de Mistura, the Special Envoy for Syria, have both warned against letting the situation continue unabated and called for Security Council action. Sherine Tadros adds to that criticism: “There have been almost half a million deaths, and each one is a stark rebuke of the Security Council, the supposed guardian of international peace and security, which has allowed a political deadlock to stand in the way of saving lives.”
Reportedly, a draft resolution on a 10-day truce in Aleppo is being circulated in the Security Council. It remains to be seen if Russia, who last vetoed a resolution calling for an end to aerial bombardments and an investigation into alleged war crimes in early October, will let such a resolution pass. For the sake of the Syrian people it should – but it may be too little too late as, hundreds of thousands of people have already suffered the fatal consequences of war.