Aleppo stands forever as a symbol of international shame and failure

Members of the United Nations Security Council should go to bed tonight with the picture of Omran Daqneesh, pulled from the rubble in Aleppo earlier this week, seared across their vision. 

Perhaps they will imagine how they would feel if it was their son or grandson and so reflect the fury that all decent people must surely feel throughout the world at the failure of the international community to achieve almost anything in stopping this slaughter.

Aleppo stands forever as a symbol of international shame and failure. Rwanda, Srebrenica, Aleppo. The world has become desensitised to the horror of the catastrophe that is taking place.

Aleppo was one of the world’s greatest cities. Six thousand years old, a cornerstone of international civilisation with a population of 2.3 million men, women and children. Today it lies in ruins. Thousands of its inhabitants have been murdered. The city now has a population of just over 250,000.

The UN is paralysed. One of its own leaders, Russia – a Permanent Representative- upon whom we rely for promoting international justice stands accused of war crimes, international thuggery and breaching humanitarian law.

Russia has bombed countless hospitals in tandem with the Syrian regime’s barrel-bombed destruction of its civilian population. Staff and patients of Médecins Sans Frontières hospitals whose only aim is to help their fellow men and women have been attacked and murdered.

Russia’s cynical self-interest remains, alas, unfettered by the United States as fear of embroilment and preoccupation with November’s elections paralyses them. Europe is distracted by its own internal difficulties. Few other countries follow Britain’s lead in caring for literally millions of refugees; Britain has contributed more in humanitarian relief than the whole of the rest of the EU put together.

The solution is to protect the innocent and reenergise the political process. In the end a political deal will be done and it cannot come soon enough for suffering Syria.

There should be “no bombing zones”, a lifting of the sieges, strong support for neighbouring countries taking in refugees with unfettered access for humanitarian relief and the inspiring people who are trying to provide it.

Who will not feel the greatest sympathy for the anger expressed today by Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, at the fact that not one ounce of aid has reached the suffering people of Aleppo in the last month?

So this August let us think of the poor suffering people of Syria and Aleppo and the way the international community has completely failed in its duties so eloquently set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 


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