WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2017) – The UN Security Council has failed Syrians. In almost six years of conflict, close to half a million people have been killed and eleven million have been forced to leave their homes. Most recently, the Syrian and Russian governments and their allies have carried out unlawful attacks on eastern Aleppo with scant regard for some 250,000 civilians trapped there. Armed opposition groups have also fired mortars and other projectiles into civilian neighbourhoods of western Aleppo, though according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “indiscriminate airstrikes across the eastern part of the city by Government forces and their allies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties.” Efforts to stop these atrocities and hold those responsible to account have been blocked repeatedly by Russia, which continues to misuse its veto power in the Security Council.

The UN’s special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has warned that the UN must not allow “another Srebrenica, another Rwanda, which we are sadly ready to recognize written on that wall in front of us, unless something takes place.” Yet, there is no sign that the Security Council deadlock will end anytime soon. The guardian of international peace and security has failed to fulfill its task under the UN Charter and has failed to uphold its responsibility to protect the Syrian people.

This is why we, a global coalition of 223 civil society organizations, urgently call upon UN member states to step in and request an Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly to demand an end to all unlawful attacks in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, and immediate and unhindered humanitarian access so that life-saving aid can reach all those in need. Member states should also explore possible avenues to bring perpetrators of serious crimes under international law on all sides to justice.

We welcome Canada’s leadership in seeking UN General Assembly action and we strongly urge all Member States to join the 73 countries from all regions by endorsing their initiative. These countries should work toward an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly at the earliest opportunity, as UN member states have done in the past when the Security Council was deadlocked.

We call in particular upon the 112 supporters of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Code of Conduct, which includes a pledge to support “timely and decisive action” aimed at preventing or ending the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, to join this effort and actively promote meaningful action through the UN General Assembly.

Inaction should not be an option. UN member states should use all the diplomatic tools at their disposal to stop the atrocities and protect the millions of civilians in Syria. History will judge harshly those that fail to step up.


  1. ABBAD
  2. Abrar Halap Association for Relief and Development*
  3. ActionAid International
  4. Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture (ACAT)
  5. Afghanistan Global Civil Society Consortium (AGCSC)
  6. Africa Atrocities Watch
  7. African Centre for Transitional Justice (ACT-J)
  8. African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET)
  9. Ahl Horan*
  10. Alkawakibi Organisation for Human Rights
  11. Al Seeraj For Development And Healthcare*
  12. AmnestyInternational
  13. Amrha*
  14. Antiwar Committee in Solidarity with the Struggle for Self-Determination
  15. Arab Human Rights Organization – Libya
  16. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA)
  17. Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  18. Assistance Mission for Africa (AMA)
  19. Associação Brasileira de Organizações Não Governamentais (Brazilian Association of NGOs)
  20. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development, India
  21. AssociationMedina
  22. Assyrian Human Rights Network (AHRN)
  23. Association de Soutien aux Médias Libres (ASML)
  24. Attaa for Relief and Development (ARD)*
  25. AttaaAssociation*
  26. Avaaz
  27. Badayl-Goa
  28. Badhon Human Development Organization (Badhon Manob Unnayan Sangstha)
  29. Balad Syria Organization*
  30. Basmeh & Zeitooneh For Relief and Development
  31. BasmetAmalCharity*
  32. BaytnaSyria
  33. BigHeartFoundation
  34. Bihar Relief Organization*
  35. BINAA for Development
  36. Bonyan*
  37. Bridge of Peace
  38. BroederlijkDelen
  39. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  40. Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
  41. Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
  42. Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
  43. CAREInternational
  44. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
  45. Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
  46. Center for the Development of International Law (CDIL)
  47. Center for Conflict Resolution (CECORE)
  48. Christian Aid UK
  49. Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)
  50. Collectif pour une Syrie Libre et Démocratique
  51. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  52. Concern Worldwide
  53. ConectasHumanRights
  54. ControlArmsFoundationofIndia
  55. Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu)
  56. CCFD-TerreSolidaire
  57. Damascene House Foundation for Society Development*
  58. Deir Elzzor United Association – FURAT*
  59. Democratic Republic Studies Center
  60. Doctors of the World UK
  61. EastAfricanCivilSocietyOrganisations’Forum(EACSOF)
  62. Economic Justice Network Sierra Leone
  63. Educationwithoutborders-MIDAD*
  64. Emaar AL Sham Humanitarian Association*
  65. Emissa for Development
  66. End Impunity Organization (EIO)
  67. EnjazDevelopmentfoundation*
  68. Equitas
  69. EuroMed Rights (Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights)
  70. Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG)
  71. Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights
  72. FundaciónJóvenesyDesarrollo
  73. Ghiath Matar Foundation*
  74. GhirasAlNahda*
  75. Ghiras Foundation for Child Care
  76. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  77. GOAL
  78. Greater Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal & Equatoria Youth Association (GUBEYA)
  79. Halina Niec Legal Aid Centre (HNLAC)
  80. Hand In Hand For Syria
  81. Help 4Syria
  82. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia (MHC)
  83. Humanitarian Relief Association – IYD*
  84. Human Appeal
  85. Human Care Syria
  86. Human Rights Documentation Organization (HURIDO)
  87. Human Rights First Society – Saudi Arabia
  88. Human Rights Now (HRN)
  89. Human Rights Watch (HRW)
  90. Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  91. Instituto Brasileiro de Analises Sociais e Economicas (IBASE)
  92. ICJKenya
  93. IHH Humantiarian Relief Foundation
  94. IndependentDoctorsAssociation(IDA)
  95. Insan for Psychosocial Support*
  96. Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC)
  97. Institute for Promotion of Civil Society (IPCS)
  98. InstitutoIgarapé
  99. InterculturalResources
  100. International Alert
  101. International Association of World Peace Advocates
  102. International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC)
  103. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  104. International Humanitarian Relief*
  105. International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  106. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  107. International Supporting Woman Association – ISWA*
  108. International Youth For Africa (IYA)
  109. Irtiqaa Foundation*
  110. Jonglei Development Agency (JODA)
  111. Jugend Eine Welt – Don Bosco Aktion Österreich
  112. Karam Foundation
  113. Kesh Malek
  114. KHOJ
  115. Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS)
  116. Maram Foundation for Relief & Development*
  117. Médecins du Monde France
  118. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)
  119. Middle East and North Africa Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC)
  120. Misiones Salesianas
  121. Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM)
  122. Mountain Foundation*
  123. Najda now*
  124. Nasaem Khair*
  126. Non C’è Pace Senza Giustizia (No Peace Without Justice)
  127. Norwegian Church Aid
  128. Nuon Organization for Peace-Building
  129. Ohaha Family Foundation (OFF)
  130. Organization for Non-violence and Development (ONAD)
  131. Orient for Human Relief*
  132. Oxfam
  133. Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
  134. PAX
  135. Pax Christi Flanders
  136. Peace and Development Collaborative Organization (PDCO)
  137. People in Need (PIN)
  138. People’s Action For Rural Awakening (PARA)
  139. People’s Empowerment Foundation (PEF)
  140. Permanent Peace Movement (PPM)
  141. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
  142. Protection Approaches
  143. Qitaf Al Khair Relief Association*
  144. Quaker Peace and Social Witness
  145. Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association
  146. Relief International
  147. Relief & Reconciliation for Syria
  148. Rethink Rebuild Society
  149. Revivre
  150. Rideau Institute
  151. Rwanda Green Initiative
  152. Saed Charity Association*
  153. Sanayee Development Organization (SDO)
  154. Save A Soul*
  155. Save the Children
  156. Sedra Association For Charity*
  157. Shama Association*
  158. Shaml Coalition
  159. Snabel Al Khyr*
  160. Solidarity Ministries Africa for Reconciliation & Development (SMARD)
  161. Souria Houria
  162. South Solidarity Initiative
  163. South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA)
  164. South Sudan Christian Community Agency (SSCCA)
  165. South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA)
  166. South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
  167. South Sudan Youth Peace and Development Organization (SSYPADO)
  168. South Sudanese Diaspora Civil Society Network (SSDCSN)
  169. Sri Lanka-United Nations Friendship Organisation (SUNFO)
  170. STAND
  171. Stichting Vluchteling (Netherlands Refugee Foundation)
  172. SUDO (UK)
  173. Syria Charity
  174. Syria NGO Alliance
  175. Syria Relief*
  176. Syria Relief and Development (SRD)
  177. Syria Relief Network (SRN)
  178. Syria Relief Organization*
  179. Syrian American Council
  180. Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)
  181. Syrian Center For Legal Studies and Research
  182. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
  183. Syrian Center for Statistics and Research (CSR-SY)
  184. Syrian Education Commission – SEC*
  185. Syrian Engineers For Construction and Development Organization – SECD*
  186. Syrian Expatriate Medical Association – SEMA*
  187. Syrian Institute for Justice
  188. Syrian League for Citizenship
  189. Syrian Medical Mission*
  190. Syrian Network for Human Rights
  191. Syrian Orphans Organization*
  192. Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ)
  193. Takaful Al Sham Charity Organization*
  194. Tearfund
  195. The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT)
  196. The Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  197. The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS)
  198. The Red Elephant Foundation
  199. The Syria Campaign
  200. The Syrian Establishment for Human Care & Enhancement – MASRRAT*
  201. The Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC)
  202. Trócaire
  203. Tuba Dernegi*
  204. Unified Revolutionary Medical Bureau in East Gouta*
  205. Union Of Syrians Abroad*
  206. URNAMMU
  207. Vision GRAM-International
  208. Voice for Change (VFC)
  209. War Child
  210. White Hands – Beyaz Eller*
  211. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  212. Women Monthly Forum
  213. World Federalist Movement–Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP)
  214. World Renew
  215. World Vision
  216. Youth Forum on Foreign Policy
  217. Youth for Peace and Development
  218. Youth in Action Balochistan
  219. Youth in Action Nepal
  220. Yuwalaya
  221. Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
  222. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
  223. 11.11.11

* These organizations are members of the Syria Relief Network (SRN), an umbrella organization of Syrian humanitarian NGOs working inside Syria and neighboring countries to provide relief to Syrians in need of assistance. 


Notes to editors:

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.

For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or chris@civiliansinconflict.org.

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