On September 8, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of manipulating facts in the recent OHCHR press release about civilian casualties in the Syrian city of Raqqah.
Comment by the Information and Press Department on a press release by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (LINK):
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reviewed the press release put out by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concerning the situation in Raqqa.
In this document, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein calls on the participants in the armed conflict to take maximum care of civilians, condemns the terrorists’ practice of using civilians as a human shield, and cites the sad statistics of casualties among the population.
However, there are details that attract attention. Below the information on the air strikes of the US-led coalition, the press release contains statistics on the Russian Aerospace Forces’ operation in Syria, unrelated to the coalition’s activities, followed by a report on civilian casualties in Raqqa. This gives the impression that the Russian Aerospace Forces were involved in the deaths of civilians there. The cynicism of this juggling with facts has exceeded all of the OHCHR’s previous politically biased moves.
We hope that the Office, which claims to be an objective and impartial unit of the UN Secretariat, will henceforth avoid manipulating facts and take a more responsible approach to producing such documents.