Syrian Network for Human Rights: The Syrian Regime Targets Children in Schools

I. Introduction
Hass village is located between Ma’aret Al No’man city, to its east, and Kafr Nobbol, to its west. It is eight kilometers away from Ma’aret Al No’man city. The village is under the joint control of Armed opposition factions and Fateh Al Sham Front.
This report documents the targeting of a school complex that includes three schools in the village by fixed-wing government forces warplanes where SNHR team have contacted a number of residents, eyewitnesses, survivors, and local media activists. The report includes two accounts. We have explained the purpose of the interviews to the witnesses who gave us their permission to use the information they provided in this report.

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect: 2017-2019 UN Human Rights Council Elections and the Responsibility to Protect

2017-2019 UN Human Rights Council Elections and the Responsibility to Protect

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect welcomes the election of 14 members to the Human Rights Council for the period of 2017 to 2019. The Global Centre also notes that Iraq, Croatia, and Rwanda will serve their first term on the Human Rights Council. With the election of Rwanda, Japan, Hungary, United Kingdom and United States, 17 of the 47 Council members are also members of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect.

Mass atrocity crimes – genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing – are usually the culmination of sustained human rights abuses. By addressing specific risk factors for mass atrocities, the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms (including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Special Procedures and treaty bodies) help to uphold our collective responsibility to protect.

Since 2008, the Human Rights Council has referred to states’ responsibility to protect their populations in over 20 thematic and country resolutions. However, more work is needed to translate the rhetoric of prevention into a practical reality.

The Global Centre has compiled profiles on each of the newly-elected Human Rights Council members. These provide a basic overview of their engagement with R2P and their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Human Rights Council profiles are available here: 2017-2019 UN Human Rights Council Elections and the Responsibility to Protect.

ICTJ: World Report October 2016 – Transitional Justice News and Analysis

ICTJ ICTJ World Report
October 2016

In Focus


Cote d’Ivoire Youth Find Political Voice Through StorytellingCote d’Ivoire Youth Find Political Voice Through StorytellingIn Cote d’Ivoire, avenues for education system reform are limited. To help youth find their voice, ICTJ and UNICEF facilitated an innovative truth-telling project led by Ivorian young people themselves. The result: an exploration of the unique experiences of young people during the conflict, told through radio broadcasts, public discussions and reports to government officials.

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World Report


AFRICASouth Africa announced it will attempt to pull out of the International Criminal Court. This follows news that Burundi’s parliament voted to leave the ICC. Uganda says it is “undecided” about whether to leave the court. The head of the Ugandan army also announced the country’s intention to halt operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army, saying the rebellion no longer exists as a “conventional fighting force.” However, experts fear that the withdrawal of Ugandan troops will create a security vacuum in the LRA’s operational territory. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Jean-Pierre Bemba was convicted of witness tampering by the ICC. Bemba is already serving an 18-year prison sentence for war crimes. The UN expressed its concerns over the fragile political situation in the DRC, fearing it could lead to large-scale violence, as “actors on all sides appear more and more willing to resort to violence to achieve their ends.” Elections were also pushed back until 2018, a move that will anger opposition groups, which have accused the president of trying to cling on to power. In Kenya, David Maraga has been sworn in as the country’s new chief justice, and has promised to end corruption. In Sudan, rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPMN) suspended peace talks with the government amid reports that government forces used chemical weapons against civilians in war-torn Darfur. Demonstrations in the Ivory Coast have intensified this month as police use tear gas to disperse the people protesting the constitution.

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AMERICASIn Colombia voters narrowly rejected a peace deal between the FARC and the government in a plebiscite held on October 2. People took to the streets to demand the peace accord be respected, as President Manuel Santos met with right-wing former president, Alvaro Uribe, to discuss changes to the agreement with the FARC-EP. Juan Manuel Santos won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end a 52-year-old war with Marxist guerrillas. A draft bill on constitutional justice reforms in the Guatemala legislature was approved. Among other things, the bill seeks to improve access to justice for women and indigenous peoples. In Peru , the former head of Peru’s intelligence services was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the forced disappearance and murder of two students and a teacher in 1993. In Geneva the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee will investigate how Jamaicahas been handling human rights issues, particularly gender discrimination and those relating to persons living with disabilities.

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ASIAIn Nepal, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has prepared reparation guideline suggesting various compensation and reparation schemes for victims. A rights group in Myanmar said it had documented what appeared to be extrajudicial killings of Muslims by the army, following government claims that nine police officers were killed. In the Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte compared his drug campaign – which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings – with the Holocaust, saying: “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts.” A UN expert has urged Sri Lanka to broaden its work on minority rights despite signs of progress after a 27-year civil war. A court in Tajikistan sentenced two prominent human rights lawyers to long prison terms.

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EUROPEIn Croatia a prosecutor has charged eight former Serb troop commanders with torture, rape, expulsion and killing of more than 100 civilians during fighting in Croatia in 1991-95. Relatives of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre told a Dutch appeals court that the government should be held responsiblefor failing to protect more of the thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys killed there. In Germany17,000 refugees sued the government for not giving them full refugee status – and most won.

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MENAIn Tunisia, parliament is debating a bill to strengthen legislation on violence against women. Syria has violated international law as UN human rights officials called the siege and bombardment of eastern Aleppo “crimes of historic proportions.” Following allegations of Russian obstruction, France has said it will turn to the International Criminal Court to launch investigations into alleged war crimes by Russia and Syria. Palestine welcomed delegates from the International Criminal Court and said they hoped it would open a war crimes investigation against Israel. In Yemen a double airstrike incinerated a packed funeral hall, killing about 140 people. In Egypt a court has upheld a 20-year jail sentence passed against ousted president Mohamed Morsi for his role in the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Decemmber 2012.

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Recommendations for Victim Reparations in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire is obligated to provide reparations to victims of both the political violence that shook the country following the 2010 presidential elections and the different episodes of political violence and armed conflict since 1990.

Handbook on Complementarity

Where should justice for some of the world’s worst crimes be done? In national courts or at the International Criminal Court in The Hague? Our new Handbook on Complementarity explores those questions, laying out the interconnected relationship between the ICC and national court systems in the global fight against impunity.

More Publications

Upcoming Events

November 03, 2016

Global Leaders: Conversations with Alon Ben-Meir, International Organization for Migration Location: New York, NY View Details

December 01 – 03, 2016

Confronting Violent Pasts and Historical (In)Justice Location: Amsterdam, NetherlandsView Details

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Syria Deeply: Weekly Update: The Many Battles for Syria’s Northern Provinces

October 28, 2016

Dear Readers,Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. We’ve rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis. But first, here is a brief overview of what happened this week:Syrian opposition forces launched an operation on Friday to break the siege of eastern Aleppo. The counterattack, against pro-Syrian government forces who have been surrounding the area since July, began with heavy shelling on the western, regime-controlled side of Syria’s largest city.“There is a general call-up for anyone who can bear arms,” a senior official with Jabhat al-Shamiyya, an Aleppo-based rebel group, told Reuters. “The preparatory shelling started this morning.”The offensive comes after months of siege and heavy aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russian air forces on the opposition-held parts of Aleppo, and the failure of a United Nations Security Council resolution to put an end to the airstrikes.Opposition forces and civilians in the northwestern Idlib province also came under heavy Russian and Syrian aerial bombardments this week. At least 82 people have been killed in airstrikes since last week: 36 of them, including 22 children, in repeated attacks on a school district in the village of Hass on Wednesday.As Russia and Syria fight opposition forces in Aleppo and Idlib, U.S.-led coalition forces are reportedly gearing up for an operation aimed at pushing the so-called Islamic State out of its Syrian stronghold in Raqqa. U.S. defense secretary Ashton Carter and his British counterpart Michael Fallon announced on Wednesday that their operation will begin “in the next few weeks.”Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish-backed Syrian rebels would also begin targeting ISIS’s stronghold in Raqqa, after it had completed operations to push militants out of the northern city of al-Bab and Syrian Kurdish forces out of the town of Manbij.Further complicating the situation in northern Syria, Syrian Kurdish YPG forces will be both fighting Turkish-backed rebels in Manbij and participating alongside U.S. and U.K. forces in the operation against ISIS in Raqqa.Weekly Highlights:

The U.N. Resolution on Aleppo Is Not About Saving Aleppans

The recent failure of the U.N. Security Council resolution on Aleppo comes as no surprise given Russia’s history of using its veto power, writes Dragana Kaurin, a refugee of the Bosnian war formerly with OCHA and UNICEF.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a new conference,  Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 at United Nations headquarters. AP/Mary Altaffer

The Fatal Threat to All Sides of Syria’s Conflict: Part 1

In the first installment of our Q&A series on infectious diseases in Syria, medical researcher Dr. Annie Sparrow discusses Zika, TB, meningitis and other illnesses that have emerged since the conflict began, and how failure to treat these diseases will have a lasting effect on the population.

Men breath with oxygen masks inside a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, after a suspected chlorine gas attack. Aleppo Media Center via AP

My Days in Damascus: Letter to a Friend

Farah is a young woman living in Syria’s capital city, where she faces the daily struggles of trying to maintain a normal social and professional life in a country being ripped apart by war.

Flowers in a garden in the Damascus citadel. Farah

Additional Reading:

Top image: A distraught man in front of destroyed buildings after airstrikes killed over 20 people, in the northern rebel-held village of Hass, Syria, Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016.  Muaz al-Shami, Syrian Revolution Network, via AP

VDC: Is This Collateral Damage?

The attack started at 10 to eleven in the morning and lasted for 15 minutes. Ten carried-by- parachute missiles dropped from fixed wing Sukhoi in Eight aerial attacks on the village. The attack destroyed six houses, 3 schools, a health center, and a local bakery. Moreover, VDC was able to document 36 deaths. All civilians; 14 males, 6 females, and 16 children. and 40 injuries the majority are the school children and teachers.
VDC strongly condemns this bombing, and considers it to be in line with the other systematic and continuous hostile activities carried out by the Russian and Syrian governments against the civilians in besieged areas. Moreover, VDC confirms that attacking schools is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law, and considers this attack to be yet another addition to the series of violations carried out by the Russian and Syrian forces against civilians, infrastructure, humanitarian and relief workers. VDC calls again on the international community and the United Nations to stand up to their responsibilities in protecting civilians with all possible means.
بدأت الهجمة على قرية حاس في الساعة العاشرة وخمسين دقيقة واستمرت تقريبا لمدة 15 دقيقة. تم استهداف القرية بعشرة صواريخ محملة بمظلات هوائية من طائرة سوخوي ضمن ثمان غارات جوية. استطاع مركز توثيق الانتهاكات في سوريا توثيق تدمير ستة منازل وثلاث مدارس ومستوصف وفرن آلي. وسقوط 36 قتيلا جميعهم مدنيين وموثقين بالاسم. توزعوا على الشكل التالي: 14 ذكر بالغاً، 6 إناث بالغات، و16 طفلاً. بينما أصيب 40 آخرين أغلبهم من طلاب المدرسة والكادر التدريسي.

إن مركز توثيق الانتهاكات في سوريا VDC يدين بشدة هذا الاستهداف ويضعه في سياق الأعمال العدائية الممنهجة والمستمرة التي تقوم بها القوات الحكومية السورية والروسية ضد السكان والأعيان المدنية فيالمناطق المحاصرة. ويؤكد المركز أن استهداف المدارس هو خرق كبير للقانون الإنساني الدولي يضاف إلى سلسلة الخروقات وانتهاكات القانون التي ترتكبها القوات الجوية الروسية والسورية في استهداف مظاهر الحياة والأماكن العامة والخدمية والطواقم الطبية وطواقم الانقاذ.
إن مركز توثيق الانتهاكات يجدد دعوته للمجتمع الدولي والأمم المتحدة ممثلة بمجلس الأمن الدولي إلى اتخاذ كل الاجراءات القانونية لتحمل مسؤولية حماية المدنيين بكل الطرق المتاحة.

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