Saturday, March 17, 2018

Basic standards of humanity : Wars across Mideast region reaches "frightening new normal"

Wars across Mideast region reaches "frightening new normal"
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer said Monday that a visit he has made to Syria has reinforced his view that wars across the region have reached a "frightening new normal" as basic standards of humanity are ignored.

"Tit-for-tat battles of retribution in intensity with no regard for their devastating impact on civilians," said Peter Maurer in a statement released by the ICRC here. He noted that Syria is the ICRC's largest and most complex operation in the world.

"The level of suffering in Eastern Ghouta is the latest example, joining Afrin and Mosul, Sana'a and Taiz. Too often destruction seems to be the goal as the basic standards of humanity are ignored," said the ICRC chief.

Maurer who went into Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday with an aid convoy said that this week the Syrian crisis entered its eighth year and he has in the last few weeks traveled across the Middle East.

When he last visited Syria 10 months ago he said there were signs of hope.

"Rehabilitation and returns were possible. Today, though, the situation has further degraded," said Maurer asking how long "the powers behind the fighting" will allow it to drag on."

The ICRC president said the powers must know that "a war of vengeance is a war without end" in which everyone loses.

He questioned what hope there can be for children who have seen families destroyed and atrocities committed.

"Syria is a conflict characterized by regular breaches of international humanitarian law: sieges, blockades, disproportionate attacks in urban areas, and the targeting of civilians and civilian services like ambulances, water stations and markets," said Maurer.

He noted that such tactics are not only in Syria but across the region in a "geo-political game played with human lives."

"The people I have met are exhausted -- exhausted from bombs and rockets dropping on civilian neighborhoods. Exhausted from not knowing details about missing or detained family members," said Maurer.

He said human lives have the same value in Ghouta as in Damascus, in Aleppo as in Mosul, in Syria as in Yemen.

The ICRC chief said that the suffering is exacerbated by a situation, in which humanitarian workers are not allowed to do their jobs.

"Aid is not a political football and must not be part of the political process," said Maurer.

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