As a follow up to the statement regarding the evacuation of civilians from the besieged areas in Homs that was issued last week, the Syrian Civil Coalition continues to express concerns regarding the process of civilian’s evacuation in Homs.
The lack of independent monitors on the ground means that the UN agencies involved in the process are the only parties able to monitor and ensure the safety of those who are still detained in the school. Therefore we urge the UN to:
- Maintain its presence in Homs even after the end of the humanitarian operation, especially with those detained in the Andalus school.
- To ensure that the Common Article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions is not violated in regard to those who are evacuated from the besieged area.
- Call for the immediate release of all the detainees in the school who are under 18, the arrest of whom is a breach to The Convention on the Rights of the Child which Syria is a signatory off.
- To include women in their team that is involved in the operation in Homs in accordance to article 4 of UN Security Council resolution 1325, which urges the Secretary-General to “seek to expand the role and contribution of women in United Nations field-based operations, and especially among military observers, civilian police, human rights and humanitarian personnel”
We believe that ensuring the success of the operation of evacuating the civilians from the besieged areas in Homs will be vital on the way towards achieving sustainable peace in Syria.
And finally we hope that the UN and the international community realize the importance of the presence of monitors on the ground. If properly deployed, they can act as a deterrent to further major acts of violence and reduce tensions in those parts of Syria where the level of violence is not high.