Widespread human rights violations continue in war-torn Syria despite a decrease in fighting between warring parties, according to a report released Wednesday by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, an investigatory branch of the UN Human Rights Council.
The alleged violations, characterized by the report as “unthinkable crimes against civilians,” include “forced displacement, deliberate attacks against civilians, and the use of chemical weapons” such as sarin and weaponized chlorine.
The report includes events occurring between March and July of this year, a period of time that included a number of local truces between factions, including the so-called “Four Towns Agreement”. While acknowledging the positive trend in reduced fighting, the report says that such truces often lead to evacuations, or “forced displacement,” a war crime.
“Warring parties must not only refrain from future agreements that forcibly displace civilians for political gains,” wrote Commissioner Karen AbuZayd, “but they must also ensure adequate protection for all internally displaced persons countrywide, including their rights to life, to adequate food, shelter and medical care, and ultimately their right to return.”