Russia and China Give Green Light for Murder of Syrian People

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) strongly condemns the decision taken by China and Russia this past Saturday to veto a UN Security Council resolution aiming to stop the violence and human rights violations taking place in Syria over the past 11 months. This is the second time these two countries veto a resolution on Syria (the last resolution was shot down in October 2011) preventing the Security Council from taking any action to help protect the people of Syria, or even speak out against the violence.

This comes at a time when the Syrian regime’s brutality has reached unprecedented levels. On Friday February 3rd 2011, Syrian forces shelled the areas of Al-Khaldiya, Bab Amro, Al-Inshaat, and Bab El Sbaa, resulting in the death of at least 270 civilians including 40 children, and the serious injury of at least 800 other civilians. Government forces also targetted attacks on the wounded inside hospitals. FIDH strongly condemns the bombing of residential areas and homes, and recalls that the indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations amounts to crimes against humanity.

FIDH is increasingly worried about the violent clashes in Syria that have scaled up into an internal armed conflict. At least 22 people were killed on Sunday February 5th: 16 in Homs, 3 in Damascus and 3 in Idleb. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 9 of those killed were from the Syrian army. The United Nations High Commission of Human Rights stated in December 2011 that 5,400 people had died from the violence in Syria. With the current increase in the flow of arms into the country and the Assad regime appearing to be scaling up its attacks on civilians, this number is likely growing exponentially by the day.

The UN resolution that was put to a vote on Saturday would have demanded that the Syrian government end all violations of human rights, and cooperate with the United Nations Commission of Inquiry and the Observers of the League of Arab States. The resolution, unanimously approved by the other 13 members of the Security Council, had already been watered down from previous versions at Russia’s insistence. Russia’s demands included having no arms embargo or any form of sanctions against the Syrian regime, as many have accused Russia of continuing to sell weapons to the Syrian government to be used against civilians.

FIDH calls on Russia and China to allow the Security Council to fulfill its Responsibility to Protect civilians who are under attack by their own governments. “A resolution on Syria must immediately be put to another vote, and all countries must show their unconditional support for the resolution aiming to end human rights violations in Syria. If the international community does not take immediate and decisive action, the massacre of more innocent civilians will be on their hands” urged Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President, “FIDH will continue to put pressure on member states of the Security Council to stop the sale of arms to anyone in Syria, allow free access to international monitors and media, and ensure violators of human rights are brought to justice: we call the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court”.

FIDH reiterates its call to the Syrian government to immediately stop all violence against the civilian population.

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