The Bleeding Innocence
On the United Nations Universal Children’s Day, SNHR has released its yearly special report that documents the violations against children by the influential parties in Syria. The report was entitled: “The Bleeding Innocence”
According to the report, The children of Syria have been the victim of all sorts of violations since March 2011 their schools are being systematically targeted by the Syrian regime and its allies who are, evidently, deliberately targeting the future generations of Syria in retaliation of the areas that called for changing the ruling regime and sought to repel against its control. The Syrian regime and its allies (foreign militias and Russian forces) absolutely top all other parties with a percentage of 94% of all violations perpetrated while other parties, such as Self-management forces (Primarily the Democratic Union Party, a branch for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party), extremist Islamic groups (ISIS and Fateh Al Sham Front), International coalition forces, are responsible for the remaining 6% to varying degrees.
The report says that the children of Syria suffered from cumulative ramifications that resulted from the daily bombing and destruction where approximately 3768 schools and kindergartens were damaged in attacks which made more than 2.5 million Syrian children lose access to an education. Also, the health sector was damaged and the vaccination rates dropped and diseases spread out such as tuberculosis and typhoid, and wide parts of the infrastructure was destroyed which also resulted in the spread of hepatitis as a result of drinking wells water. With the nearly complete destruction of so many neighborhoods, Syrian families had no choice but to seek refuge which emerged a new suffering of a new kind as 60% of the total of children refugees were deprived of an education and they were used as laborers. Additionally, we recorded a number of sexual violence cases against children inside and outside Syria and the rates of early marriages soared alarmingly. No less than 160,000 children refugees were born in refugee camps and many of them didn’t get any sort of documentation or papers.
The report draws upon SNHR archive that have been built through ongoing and daily monitoring and documentation since 2011. All the statistics are recorded with names, pictures, place and date of death or detention, and other details. This report represents only the bare minimum of the violations that we were documented. In this report, we highlighted the most notable incidents that we documented and took place between 20 November 2015 and 20 November 2016 in addition to some incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2015. However, the death toll covers the period of time from March 2011 until now.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, says:
“When we document a daily, monthly, and yearly cumulation of this huge number of children victims without any real or actual international sympathy, this undoubtedly annihilate the norm of the Responsibility to Protect. Who is responsible for protecting Syria’s children from barrel bombs, chemical weapons, sniping, and starving? This question is for the major states who are claiming to be the leaders of the world.”
The report documents the killing of 20,676 children by government forces since March 2011 including 714 children who were killed by snipers and 160 children at least who died due to torture. Also, the report records that no less than 276 children died due to the siege imposed by government forces. The number of children who were arrested is 11,044. Out of the 11,044 children, 2819 at least are still being detained.
The report notes that ISIS committed war crimes through the indiscriminate shelling, the killing, torture, sexual violence, and conscription, turning schools into military centers. Approximately, 438 children were killed by ISIS while the number of children detainees is no less than 217 children. In addition, Fateh Al Sham Front killed 51 children and arrested no less than 24 others.
Furthermore, the report records that 862 children were killed and 289 were arrested by armed opposition factions. Also, some children were used in military activities.
According to the report, International coalition forces have killed 249 children since the military campaign started on 23 September 2014. Also, four schools were targeted. In contrast, Russian forces have killed 992 children since 30 September 2015 and the attacks carried out by Russian forces resulted in damages to no less than 84 schools five of which were targeted more than once.
The report notes that government forces and pro-government militias committed acts that constitute crimes against humanity against the children of Syria through the widespread systematic killing, and through torture and sexual violence. Government forces, and pro-government militias, have blatantly violated article 7 of Rome Statue. Furthermore, government forces, and pro-government militias, perpetrated acts that amount to war crimes through conscription, starvation, and besieging whole population including children and women which is a blatant violation of the international humanitarian law and the relevant Security Council Resolutions.
Moreover, the report asserts that most of the bombardments carried out by Russian forces were concentrated in populated areas and centers which resulted in the killing of tens of Syrian children. All of these indiscriminate attacks constitute war crimes.
The report reads that Self-management forces forces practiced acts that constitute war crimes through indiscriminate shelling which killed many children and also through conscription.
According to the report, Extremist Islamic groups recruited hundreds of children who are younger than 15 years of age. Also, these groups carried out practices of torture against children detainees inside their detention centers. Additionally, they killed many children in indiscriminate shelling, which constitutes war crimes.
The report notes that various factions recruited tens of children. Furthermore, the indiscriminate shelling by some of the opposition resulted in the killing of a number of children. All of this constitutes war crimes.
In addition, the repot clarifies that some of the indiscriminate attacks by international coalition forces have resulted in the killing of a number of Syrian children. The indiscriminate random bombardment constitutes a war crime.
The report calls on the international community and the Security Council to seek all possible paths in order to end the conflict in Syria and bring about an end to the bloodbath against the Syrian people as this is a moral and historical responsibility. Furthermore, the report emphasizes the necessity to deliver aids to children living under siege. The Syrian regime mainly must be forced to end the siege instead of resorting to dropping aids from the sky.
The report also calls for mechanisms to stop the bombardment of schools which must be protected in addition to working on creating a safe educational environment which is the least form of protecting civilians.
The report notes that refugees coming from Syria should be able to seek asylum and their rights must be respected including banning refoulment. The states of the European Union and other states must work on easing the load on the neighboring countries and take in more Syrian refugees. Additionally, donor counties must increase their support for the Union Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and community organizations in the asylum countries.