CIVICUS and the Arab NGO Network for Development deliver statement on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council


ANNDCIVICUS and the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) declared their full support for the peaceful protests and the legitimate demands of the Syrian people during the Special Session on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council today. In a statement delivered by Renate Bloem, CIVICUS' representative to the UN in Geneva, CIVICUS and ANND condemned the criminal practices of the Syrian regime and called for the immediate end of the cycle of violence.

Here is the full statement.

Human Rights Council
17th SPECIAL SESSION on the Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic 

22 August 2011
Delivered by Renate Bloem

Thank you, Mme President,

This is a joint statement by our partner ANND, Arab NGO Network for Development and CIVICUS, World Allaince for Citizen Participation.

It has been six months since the Syrian people’s protests started against dictatorship and tyranny, questing political freedoms, right of expression and association, dignity, and justice within a democratic system. More than three thousand martyrs have since lost their lives while many more thousands of civilians have been injured, detained, disappeared, or fled as refugees to neighbouring countries. 

And it is three and a half months after our first Special Session on Syria in late April. As a result we have before us a devastating report by the fact finding Mission, mandated by the Council and presented by the High Commissioner this afternoon.  Although hampered in its work through the non-cooperation of the government that prevented it from adequately covering major geographic areas, its findings are shattering. At the time of writing, the Mission was in  receipt of over 1,900 names and details of persons killed in Syria since mid-March 2011; all are said to be civilians.

Despite promises by President Al-Assad to the UN Secretary General and to the international community, the Syrian regime is continuously practicing more excessive and violent repression targeting the civilian and peaceful protestors. 

CIVICUS and the Arab NGO Network for Development are shocked and we declare our full support to the peaceful protests and the legitimate demands of the Syrian people and condemn the criminal practices of the regime and call for immediate end of the cycle of violence. 

We urge the Council to:

  • Form a judicial commission of inquiry on crimes against humanity in Syria, which is independent and impartial, fair and transparent, and refer the findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
  • Demand from the Syrian authorities immediate lift of the siege imposed on cities and towns, and release of all the arbitrary detainees and political prisoners, and assertion that there should be no reprisals against people who have taken part in demonstrations.
  • Demand from Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which has been investigating the abuses in Syria, and allow immediate access of international media and independent human rights organizations.
  • Demand from the Syrian authorities the disclosure of identities of committers of violence and aggression against the Syrian civilians and those responsible for the casualties- death and injuries, whether governmental or non-governmental, to hold them accountable and make sure that the people responsible face justice.
  • Urge the Syrian authorities to allow and ensure the effective reach and delivery of needed humanitarian aid to cities and villages under siege by the army and the security forces.
  • Demand from the Syrian authorities the necessary measures to ensure the effective exercise of the right of peaceful assembly and to ensure basic rights and freedoms of the Syrian citizens, including the activation of the decree cancelling the state of emergency and martial law, adopting a fair, just and democratic electoral law and conducting elections accordingly.

Finally, we urge the Council to call on the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria!

Thank you, Mme President


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