Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry for Syria, said on Tuesday (March 14) that political dialogue was the only solution to end the Syrian conflict in which both sides have committed war crimes.
“That is the only way to end this conflict, we are repeating that for the last six years, and to stop the suffering of Syrian men, women and children, and that is for the parties, to all warring parties, to come to the table and engage in genuine constructive political dialogue,” Pinheiro told the Human Rights Council in Geneva after releasing the Commission’s report.
The report, which covered the period between July 21, 2016, and Feb. 28 this year, said Syria’s air force deliberately bombed water sources in December, a war crime that cut off water for 5.5 million people in and around the capital Damascus.
Pinheiro urged all countries involved in the conflict to influence parties in order to facilitate negotiations. The Brazilian negotiator emphasized that protecting the lives of the civilians was a “duty and obligation”.
He also pledged support to a new U.N. mechanism which will collect evidence and prepare criminal files for prosecution by national authorities or an international court.
The six-year Syrian war, which has killed 320,000 people and displaced millions, continues unabated, largely due to the international community’s failure to agree on how to end it, with the United States and Russia, as well as their respective regional allies, backing rival sides.