UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday urged international action on Syria, comparing the ongoing civil conflict in the country to Holocaust, the UN News Centre reported.
Speaking at a Holocaust memorial event at the Park East Synagogue in New York, the UN chief referred to the principle of the responsibility to protect, which puts the obligation on every state to protect the population from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or ethnic cleansing. The principle was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005.
“Neither anti-Semitism nor Islamophobia nor other such forms of bias have a place in the 21st century world we are trying to build,” he said. “In the face of these crimes and violations there is a corresponding duty of the international community to act.”
“The responsibility to protect applies everywhere and all the time,” Ban went on. “It has been implemented with success in a number of places, including in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire. But today it faces a great test in Syria.”
According to UN estimates, over 60,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which is now in its 23rd month.
“There will be no amnesties for those most responsible. The old era of impunity is ending. In its place, slowly but surely, we are building a new age of accountability,” he said.