Writer: Dhruva Nistane is a debater who discusses current issues and wants to bring attention to Syrian refugees by writing abut their hardships.
In this day and age, we do not expect blatant human right violations to occur. However, neither did the Jewish population in Europe during the Holocaust. We as a society have grown neglectful and distant from the lack of morality present in our globe against innocent civilians. We as a society have grown too comfortable in a way where we view and hear about clear violations of human rights violations with indifference. Today at this very moment though, civilians our age are threatened by irrational leaders who threaten their survival, but we merely look on and then move on.
This namely holds true in the topic of Syria- a war torn nation where human rights violations occur on a daily and regular basis. The Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, as well as other rebel groups have committed serious acts that violate international law against their own people. Syria has also been spearheading a myriad of war crimes occurring in the country. Adding to the unrest in the region is the presence of terrorist organizations such as ISIS, who further target and harm civilians in the region. The years of abuse from these parties have raised the death toll of the conflict in Syria to 250,000 lives, of which 100,000 are civilians. This staggering number of civilians have received no retribution for their lives due to the fact that no substantive efforts have been made in a multilateral manner to end the war. In August 2013, the Syrian government used chlorine gas, a chemical weapon, against civilians in Ghouta. This act directly violated the Chemical Weapons Convention and thus Syria’s declared chemical weapons were destroyed. Furthermore, between July 2012 and July 2014, the Syrian government used cluster munitions on a large scale. About 249 attacks have been identified with seven types of cluster munitions utilized. This has additionally massacred innocent civilians and has devastated infrastructure. Additionally, Syria, in defiance of UNSC Resolution 2139, bombed Aleppo neighborhoods over 650 times. These bombs were regularly used from February 2014 to July 2014 and an estimated 3557 civilians have been killed in merely the Aleppo area. The Syrian government has also conducted numerous sieges to starve civilians and harm them. This, in violation of UNSC resolution 2139, was used to force civilians and groups to submit to the Syrian government. However, this is only the beginning of the heinous crimes of the Syrian government. Syrian forces have arbitrarily detained people without any rights given to them. From this, many civilians are inhumanely tortured and are subject to inhumane treatment causing them to starve or contract diseases. Soon these detainees are lost in one of the many Syrian detention facilities. At the moment, a myriad of human rights workers and activists are in this arbitrary detention,a violation of UNSC Resolution 2139.
This unrest has been multiplied by human rights abuses by terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have taken a share in the perpetuated violence through cluster munitions car bombings, restricting and discriminatory laws toward women, and child soldiers. Seeing their word as law, they have independently taken it upon themselves to punish civilians for actions and ban activities such as listening to music. Along with this, non-state armed groups such as the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front have joined in the cause of increasing the death toll by participating in the employment of child soldiers and abductions.
Understanding the current volatile condition of Syria, where one cannot be sure if they will wake up tomorrow, it is obvious why Syrians would flock to neighboring nations for sanctuary. It is obvious that they would rather live in freedom than die as another number in the death toll of a violent civil war. For this reason, substantive action must be taken globally not just to temporarily improve the lives of Syrian refugees in the nations they have fled to, but to fix the root of the issue- Syria itself. If Syria can be stabilized and a referendum can be put in place to see what the people want, the Syrian refugee crisis would dissolve! Thus, the first steps must be taken to end the massacre in Syria and bring justice to our fellow fallen civilians. This is the 21st century, a time period of equality and democracy, not dictatorship and injustice. It is a time of collaboration and innovation, not unilateral action and destruction. To stop these human rights violations, we must think of one another as fellow humans, and put an end to the crimes of Syria.