The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a joint statement Saturday calling upon world leaders to address a nearly unprecedented level of global conflict, the BBC reported. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen topped their list of places where wars are defying "basic humanity."
"Civilians are being killed, tortured and starved, hospitals bombed, no one is being held to account, no one is even trying to stop the slaughter," ICRC President Peter Maurer said alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva Saturday.
"Enough is enough," Ban said. "Even war has rules. It is time to enforce them." The secretary general issued a call for nations around the world to address the violence and its spillover effects.
"In the face of blatant inhumanity, the world has responded with disturbing paralysis," the secretary-general said. "This flouts the very raison d'être of the United Nations. The world must reaffirm its humanity and uphold its commitments under international humanitarian law. Today we speak with one voice to urge all states to take immediate, concrete steps to ease the plight of civilians."
"Rarely before have we witnessed so many people on the move," Maurer said. The refugee crises stemming from these wars, he continued, are contributing to the 60 million displaced persons in the world -- "the highest figure since World War II."
A press release outlined an agenda to combat the issues at stake.
Redouble efforts to find sustainable solutions to conflicts and take concrete steps to that effect.
Individually and collectively, use every means to wield influence over parties to armed conflict to respect the law, including carrying out effective investigations into breaches of international humanitarian law, holding perpetrators accountable, and developing concrete mechanisms to improve compliance.
Condemn those who commit serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Ensure unhindered access to medical and humanitarian missions and protect medical and humanitarian workers and facilities.
Protect and assist internally displaced people and refugees while they are fleeing insecurity, and help them to find long-term solutions, while supporting host countries and communities.
Stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.