UNHCR session condemns Aleppo violence

World Today

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses his statement during the 67th session of the UNHCR Executive Committee at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP)

The UN’s Human Rights Council has passed a resolution calling for enhanced investigation of rights violations and abuses in Aleppo, a measure aimed to put pressure on Russia.

The council voted 24-7, with 16 abstentions, on the measure at a special council session Friday on the “deteriorating situation of human rights” in Syria and in Aleppo, a city that has recently faced an onslaught by Russian and Syrian airpower.

Prior to the vote, a minute of silence was held to commemorate the victims of the Syrian conflict.

The resolution largely reiterated previous council resolutions on Syria, but calls on the Commission of Inquiry on Syria to specifically investigate crimes in Aleppo and report back to the 47-member body.

Britain spearheaded the resolution to put pressure on Russia.

Five amendments proposed by Russia were rejected. Algeria, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba and Venezuela joined Russia voting against the measure.

On the humanitarian front, Spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Jens Laerke informed the media that the medical evacuations of sick and injured people could unfortunately not begin Friday morning in east Aleppo, as had been hoped.

“The necessary conditions were not in place to ensure safe, secure and voluntary evacuations of sick and critically wounded people and their families,” said Laerke.

“The UN and our humanitarian partners are present and ready in west Aleppo to carry out the UN plan for medical evacuations as soon as conditions allow.”

Story by the Associated Press