Amnesty Inter­na­tional: ‘Keep up inter­na­tional pres­sure against abuses in Syria’

Global pres­sure must be applied to all par­ties in the Syr­ian con­flict to abide by inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian and human rights law, Amnesty Inter­na­tional said as the League of Arab States gath­ered in Qatar for a sum­mit and BRICS nations met at a sep­a­rate event in South Africa.


The Arab League gath­er­ing – where the National Coali­tion for Syr­ian Rev­o­lu­tion­ary and Oppo­si­tion Forces has been given Syria’s seat after the sus­pen­sion of the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber 2011 – should see a tough mes­sage emerge against abuses per­pe­trated by armed groups.


“The oppo­si­tion must not waver — it has both a duty and an oppor­tu­nity to denounce abuses car­ried out by armed oppo­si­tion groups and stand in line with inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian law — pay­ing lip ser­vice to it is not enough” said Ann Har­ri­son, Amnesty International’s Deputy Mid­dle East and North Africa Pro­gramme Director.

While it is clear that the vast major­ity of war crimes and other gross vio­la­tions con­tinue to be com­mit­ted by gov­ern­ment forces, Amnesty International’s research points to an esca­la­tion in abuses by armed oppo­si­tion groups, which have increas­ingly resorted to hostage tak­ing and to the tor­ture and sum­mary killing of sol­diers, pro-​government mili­tias and civilians.

In a recent brief­ing, Sum­mary Killings and other abuses by armed oppo­si­tion groups, the orga­ni­za­tion doc­u­mented dozens of such cases.

Amnesty Inter­na­tional also urged Brazil, Russ­ian, India, China and South Africa — which make up the BRICS nations attend­ing a sum­mit in South Africa this week — to show inter­na­tional lead­er­ship at the level of the UN Secu­rity Coun­cil regard­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Syria.

“The sit­u­a­tion in Syria is a human rights cat­a­stro­phe unfold­ing before our eyes on a daily basis. It is crit­i­cal that when­ever mem­bers of the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity meet, they place human rights in Syria high on the agenda.”

BRICS mem­bers must press both sides – and in par­tic­u­lar the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment with whom the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has a close rela­tion­ship — to end war crimes and crimes against human­ity, which it is con­tin­u­ing to commit.

“The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment must also allow unim­peded access to all parts of Syria for human­i­tar­ian orga­ni­za­tions to deliver much-​needed aid, as well as to inter­na­tional human rights mon­i­tors such as the UN inde­pen­dent inter­na­tional Com­mis­sion of Inquiry.”

Amnesty Inter­na­tional has most recently doc­u­mented vio­la­tions by Syr­ian secu­rity forces and pro-​government mili­tias in the brief­ing, Gov­ern­ment bombs rain on civil­ians, in a long line of reports high­light­ing tar­get­ing of civil­ians, arbi­trary arrest, tor­ture and other ill-​treatment, enforced dis­ap­pear­ances, extra­ju­di­cial exe­cu­tions and other abuses since the start of the Syr­ian upris­ing in March 2011.

“In this regard, BRICS coun­tries must do all within their power to ensure that the UN Secu­rity Coun­cil refers the sit­u­a­tion in Syria to the pros­e­cu­tor of the Inter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court as soon as pos­si­ble, to ensure account­abil­ity for inter­na­tional crimes com­mit­ted by all sides in the conflict”.

Source: Amnesty Inter­na­tional

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