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Amnesty International: “Response to Syria Bloodshed Completely Inadequate” and “Deeply Disappointing”

Amnesty International: "Response to Syria Bloodshed Completely Inadequate" and "Deeply Disappointing"

Suzanne Trimel, Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA

New York – Amnesty International today called the United Nations Security Council response to the bloodshed in Syria “completely inadequate” and “deeply disappointing” and pressed the Council for a “firm and legally binding” position imposing an arms embargo, freezing President Al-Assad’s assets and pursuing an international investigation of crimes against humanity.

The Security Council condemned the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on protesters in a statement Wednesday and called for an end to violence but the statement is not legally binding.

“The U.N.’s response is completely inadequate,” said Jose Luis Diaz, Amnesty International’s representative to the United Nations. “After more than four months of violent crackdown on predominantly peaceful dissent in Syria, it is deeply disappointing that the best the Security Council can come up with is a limp statement that is not legally binding and does not refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.”

“President Assad has allowed his security forces to carry out another bloody attack on civilians, with dozens killed in the city of Hama in recent days. It’s crucial that a U.N. Human Rights Council fact-finding mission to Syria is able to investigate the situation as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the Security Council has also failed to provide support for such a mission,” he said. The Syrian authorities have so far not allowed the U.N.-fact-finding delegation into the country.

““The UN must act now, with a firm and legally binding position. At the very least, its position must include imposing an arms embargo, freezing the assets of President al-Assad and other officials suspected of responsibility for crimes against humanity, and referring the situation to the ICC Prosecutor,” he added.

Amnesty International has received the names of more than 1,500 people believed to have been killed since pro-reform protests began in mid-March.

Many of them are reported to be protesters and local residents shot by live ammunition from the security forces and the army. Thousands of others have been arrested within the context of the protests, with many being held incommunicado at unknown locations.

Families are reportedly afraid to seek information about the whereabouts of detained relatives and Amnesty International fears they may have been subjected to enforced disappearances. Many are reported to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody, in some cases resulting in death.”

The crimes committed in Syria by government forces amount to crimes against humanity as they appear to be part of a widespread, as well as systematic, attack against the civilian population, Amnesty International said.

The organization has repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, as it did with Libya’s government in February, following the violent repression of protests there.

Suzanne Trimel
Media Relations Director
Amnesty International USA
5 Penn Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10001
917-815-5964 (mobile)