On 28 June 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed concern regarding civilians caught in the Syria's Raqqa governorate. He emphasized that "civilians must not be sacrificed for the sake of rapid military victories." It is important for all forces, both local and international, to be aware of the civilians in the area and work to reduce the casualty effectively. Since June 1, it is estimated that more than 173 civilians have been killed by fighting forces, based on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) data. Another rising problem is that smugglers and traffickers are taking advantage of these vulnerable refugees as civilian death continues to increase and escape rate is getting steeper.
Bombs do not pick and choose people. Infants, children, teenagers, adults and elderly - all are affected regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity and religion. It is tragic that these people are killed instantly whether they have nothing to do with the war. It will be ideal if the world is at peace and there is no war. There are places in the world where bombings and wars are still going on; however, the very least, the fighting parties should respect the civilians and try their best to not engage the innocent. I would like the United Nations to take an initiative as a mediator between parties to ensure the safety of the civilian. It is a responsibility of us all, who are living on this earth today, to help when one can, ask for help when one needs help and most importantly, be respectful of each other.
APPA UN NGO intern Cornell University Information Science major Jungwon Shin