Tag Archives: #United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

Note to Correspondents

Joint Statement:
Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and
Karen Smith, United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect,
on the situation in northeast Syrian Arab Republic

(New York, 15 October 2019) United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and the United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Karen Smith, expressed their alarm over the current situation in northeast Syria following the launch of a military operation by Turkey on 09 October.

The Special Advisers stated that “the civilians of Syria continue to live through one of the worst conflicts of our time, with repeated violations of their basic rights and protections guaranteed under international law. This latest escalation of the conflict again puts civilians at grave risk. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported on several civilian casualties, including allegations of summary executions, and humanitarian actors report that at least 160,000 civilians have been displaced in the six days since the start of the military operation.”

The Special Advisers stressed that Turkish authorities and all parties to the conflict in Syria need to ensure strict adherence to the legal obligation to protect civilians. This is the responsibility of all State and non-State actors. No civilian should be forced to leave their home against their will. In addition, any return of refugees needs to be voluntary and when conditions are safe for them to do so sustainably. The Special Advisers also urged the international community, and the Security Council in particular, to do more to uphold the responsibility to protect civilians in the Syrian conflict. The repeated failure of the Security Council to speak with a united voice and to take action to protect civilian populations at risk of serious violations goes against the responsibility to protect principle, a commitment made by all Member States.

The Special Advisers reiterated calls for de-escalation and for a political solution to the Syria crisis stating that “far too many civilians have already been victims of atrocity crimes in Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011 and millions of Syrians remain at risk of these crimes. Until there is a sustainable political solution to the crisis, one in which all communities in the country have a voice and their rights can be protected, the risk of atrocity crimes remains a reality”.

For media queries please contact:
Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
Email: osapg@un.org
http://www.un.org/genocideprevention

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS

Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on his visit to Bangladesh to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

(Dhaka, 13 March 2018) From 7 to 13 March I visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingya population who have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the most recent incidents of violence in northern Rakhine state in October 2016 and August 2017. During my visit, I had the opportunity to meet Bangladeshi authorities, civil society actors and members of the diplomatic community. I also visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, where survivors I met shared horrifying stories of what they have endured.

What I have heard and witnessed in Cox’s Bazaar is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the international community. The scorched earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable. Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the international community has buried its head in the sand. This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes.

Let us be clear: international crimes were committed in Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims have been killed, tortured, raped, burnt alive and humiliated, solely because of who they are. All the information I have received indicates that the intent of the perpetrators was to cleanse northern Rakhine state of their existence, possibly even to destroy the Rohingya as such, which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide. However, whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately. We owe this to the Rohingya population.

Continue reading