Special Advisers on Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect condemn use of chemical weapons in Syria

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A line of Syrian refugee women, some carrying children, cross into Jordan from southern Syria (© UNHCR/N.Daoud)

"The use of chemical weapons during armed conflict is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime, regardless of who the targets or the victims of the attacks are.

The warning comes from the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Jennifer Welsh in a statement condemning the killing of hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of Damascus on 21 August.

They stressed that "there is never any military justification for the use of chemical weapons – whether by Governments or anti-government armed groups – given their horrific and indiscriminate impact".

Jennifer Welsh is the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect.

“Well we are calling, as is the UN Secretary-General, on the government of Syria to grant immediate access for this investigation to the sites where the attack has taken place so that investigators may collect evidence quickly because of course, given the nature of these weapons, there is a limited time frame for an investigation. We also call on all parties in this region of the country to grant that access both to the site and any remaining victims.”

The Special Advisers furthermore called on the Member States of the United Nations to utilize appropriate measures to immediately bring to an end any use of chemical weapons in Syria, if such use is confirmed, as well as to halt all other acts that could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, and which continue to threaten not only thousands of lives, but also peace and security in the region.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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