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UN Aleppo meeting Swiss call for collective responsibility over Syria

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein addresses the meeting via a video message

(Keystone)

Switzerland has called for “not remaining passive” faced with the escalating violence in Syria at a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council meant to address the situation in the besieged city of Aleppo.

The Swiss ambassador to the United Nations, Valentin Zellwegerexternal link, made the comments on Friday while addressing the session in Geneva.

Zellweger also spoke of the violation of the principles of “distinction, proportionality and precaution”. According to human rights law, no civilian should be forced to leave the zone in which they were staying, he added.

At the meeting, the Human Rights Council external linkagreed to launch an "independent special inquiry" into events in Aleppo, where the top UN rights official said air strikes constituted war crimes.

The 47-member state forum adopted a resolution, submitted by Britain along with Western and Arab allies, by a vote of 24 states in favour and seven against with 16 abstentions. Russia and China were among those voting against the resolution.

The Council asked the existing UN commission of inquiry to "conduct a comprehensive independent special inquiry into the events in Aleppo" in order to identify those responsible for alleged violations and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.

Up to 500 people have been killed and 2,000 injured since Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, launched an assault on Aleppo a month ago. Overall, hundreds of thousands of people have fled Aleppo or died in the conflict.

Syria's government has said civilians are suffering because of "terrorists".

Meanwhile, the UN has said that it hopes to carry out medical evacuations from Aleppo if a "humanitarian pause" declared unilaterally by the government and its Russian ally holds. But it said these evacuations would not be possible on Friday due to security concerns.

Russia has denied any deliberate targeting of civilians.


swissinfo.ch and agencies

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