The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales has today joined international human rights organisations in condemning the killing of Syrian civilians during fighting in Aleppo.

Yesterday, the UN Human Rights Office cited reports of 82 civilians (including 24 women and children) being killed by advancing government forces: many of them are reported to have been summarily executed. Substantial civilian casualties have been reported across the city, following bombardment by government forces and Russian allies.

Human rights organisations including the International Red Cross have joined the UN in calling for safe passage for civilians remaining in the rebel-controlled enclave of East Aleppo. Reports indicate that a ceasefire provisionally agreed last night to allow for evacuation has been broken this morning.

BHRC’s Chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC said:

“The news from Aleppo should shock us all. The UN’s reports of summary killings and killings of civilians are a clear violation of the Syrians people’s rights under international law.

The refusal by participants in Syria’s ongoing conflict to observe minimum legal standards, including the Geneva Conventions, is unjustifiable. BHRC calls on all sides to agree an urgent sustainable ceasefire, provide safe passage for civilians trapped in East Aleppo, and to ensure that Syrians’ human rights are protected.

We also call for active engagement from the international community, particularly the UK, to protect civilians, and to ensure proper investigation and accountability for violations of international law”

Image credit: Zouhir Al Shimale