The UN Security Council has been called out by its own the Human Rights Council's Commission on Inquiry in Syria as enabling the continued human rights violations taking place. The ineffectiveness and unreliability of the world body in resolving the crisis led to the Commission's harsh assessment.
“The absolute impunity that pervades the conflict, now entering its fourth year, is utterly unacceptable. The leadership of each party must be held responsible for the violations of its members, and must take action to curb these violations,” says Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission. “Such inaction [by the Security Council] has provided the space for the proliferation of actors in Syria, each pursuing its own agenda and contributing to the radicalization and escalation of violence.”
While barrel bombs continue to drop onto civilian homes and people die from starvation, the Security Council members continue to bicker. Their inability to view the Syrian crisis as humanitarian, and not as your-ally-versus-mine, is preventing the necessary action to stop the violence.
There has been a great deal of fighting around the Yarmouk refugee camp which is preventing the supply of humanitarian assistance. Without the aid provided through the UN the people are subjected to mass starvation. The situation described at the Yarmouk camp is reflective of the other refugee camps which together host an estimated 2.5 million people.
The Security Council initially found itself deadlocked because Russia was standing behind Bashar al-Assad. But due in part to the Council's inaction, this is no longer just a fight between pro-democracy rebels versus a “legitimate” authoritarian government. The Commission of Inquiry has cited both pro-government and non-state actors as perpetrators against human rights.
In light of this assessment and other recent developments, I believe the United States should make another push for a Security Council resolution that reframes their view of the crisis and aims to end the combat between all factions in Syria. This is not East vs. West, it’s not Shia vs. Sunni, this is humans killing humans on a grand scale. The permanent members should actually try to provide security for the world, as the name of the Council suggests they might do.