The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is meant to protect against “barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind”. The conscience of mankind, however, has become remarkably forgiving of late.
What can outrage it? Not the 80,000 dead, according to the UN (a minimum of 94,000, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights). Not the 1.5 million the war has driven into exile in poverty-stricken camps, where families sell their daughters to dirty old men to pay for food. Not the United Nations, which last week talked of soldiers forcing children to watch the torture and murder of their parents and concluded that, while all sides were guilty of war crimes, rebel actions did not “reach the intensity and scale” of the massacres committed by government forces.