Syria: The International Community must act now. Horror must be investigated

Appalled by the deadly bombardments that reportedly took place in Ghouta, near the Syrian capital Damascus, on August 21st, 2013, FIDH is calling for an immediate, thorough and impartial international investigation into the mass killings and the alleged use of chemical weapons.

According to the Syrian opposition, more than 1300 people would have been killed in the attack.

FIDH calls on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to immediately expand the mandate of the UN inspectors who arrived in Damascus on Wednesday to investigate reports of toxic arms use in order for them to look into the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian security forces in Ghouta.

Whilst the UNSC said it is seeking “clarity” on the events, FIDH recalls that the international community can not remain silent in the face of a new mass murder perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Even though a large number of member states welcomed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s calls for an immediate investigation by the UN chief investigator Ake Sellstrom, whose team is now in Syria, no formal statement has been issued on the matter by the Council since yesterday.

FIDH urges the Syrian authorities to grant the UN team of investigators as well as humanitarian aid groups unrestricted access to the area of the alleged attack.

"The allegations on the use of chemical weapons will have to be corroborated by investigations, but what seems indisputable already is that a large number of civilians have been killed in the attacks, among which many children, which would amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity" said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. "These crimes must not go unpunished. FIDH condemns these crimes committed against civilian populations and reiterates the absolute necessity for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court", added Karim Lahidji.

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