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UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated that Syrian and Russian airstrikes against East Aleppo’s civilians are “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,”. Russia has issued a “humanitarian pause” of fighting since Thursday to allow residents to flee East Aleppo, but many do not trust the declaration and are remaining put. An all-encompassing ceasefire has been called by the UNHCHR.
As the Syrian and Russian governments planned to halt their bombing of civilians and hospitals in Aleppo, attacks on medical facilities in other parts of Syria continued unabated. Coalition member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) documented a series of deadly strikes on hospitals throughout Syria and urged the international community to heed these ongoing violations of international law.
The WHO has urgently asked for $22.35 million to prevent cholera from spreading throughout the country, after 18 cases of the disease have been confirmed among 340 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea. Due to conflict, two thirds of the country’s population do not have access to clean water and sanitation, increased malnutrition is prevalent, and health systems’ resources are scarce.
More than 3 million people are on the brink of starvation in northeast Nigeria amid the fight against extremist group, Boko Haram, and curable diseases and polio have resurfaced as well. The UN and other humanitarian groups underestimated the situation’s severity, and it may now be too dangerous to send aid workers to the region.
Coalition member Defenders for Medical Impartiality organized a panel event in September, “Doctors under Attack: Systematic Violations of Medical Impartiality in Yemen, Syria, and Egypt,” held in parallel to the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC).