Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Security Council’

Breaking News: Syria

Dear Gabriel,

Breaking: What I saw in Syria

I recently returned from a months-long fact-finding mission to Syria where I witnessed first-hand the extent of the atrocities being committed by government forces and militias working alongside the military.

In Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, I saw people — including a 16-year-old schoolboy — being shot dead and injured by security forces and militias during peaceful demonstrations. Elsewhere in every town and village I saw homes burned down to the ground and spoke to families of young men who had been dragged from their homes and murdered by soldiers. The abuses were systematic and massive in scale. More recently opposition fighters have also been committing abuses and the situation is likely to deteriorate further the longer this conflict goes on.

People who care — like you — must speak out against this senseless violence. Your donation today will help support Amnesty International’s actions to uncover the truth, demand accountability, and prevent human rights abuses in the future.

As you read this, intense fighting between government forces and opposition fighters is taking place in Syria, where residential neighborhoods have been turned into battlefields and civilians are more at risk than ever. Tens of thousands have fled their homes just in recent days, joining the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced in the past year.

Despite the escalating violence, the international community has tragically failed to take effective action — essentially standing by as children, women and men are slaughtered.

That is why it is imperative that Amnesty International continues its efforts speaking out on behalf of Syrian civilians and taking critical steps to hold accountable those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Your donation will help us:

Send other researchers like myself into the field to document atrocities and share them with influencers and leaders around the world.

Put pressure on the United Nations Security Council to take concrete action to protect the civilian population and to hold the perpetrators of these terrible crimes accountable.

When atrocities like what I’ve seen in Syria are committed, we must not turn our heads or despair that there is nothing we can do. We must keep global attention on Syria. Your donation can make a difference.

Sincerely,

Donatella Rovera
Senior Crisis Response Adviser
Amnesty International

P.S. Want to learn more? Watch a first-hand account of my fact-finding mission.

Houla, Syria & Russia

Dear Gabriel,

We’ve just witnessed the worst violence in the year-long conflict in Syria.

On Friday more than 108 people — including 50 children — were killed in Houla, Syria after a barrage of shells, mortars, rockets and raids. The global response to this horrifying violence was immediate condemnation — and at least 10 countries, including the United States, have since expelled Syrian ambassadors and senior Syrian diplomats.

The ruthless killing of civilians in Houla marks a new low in the Syria crisis. But a massive, renewed international spotlight on the country is our best hope to stop the bloodshed.

Let’s press Russia – which has been a key ally to Syria and has blocked meaningful action in the UN Security Council — to stand up against the brutality and prevent further loss of Syrian lives.

Over the past 14 months nearly 10,000 Syrians have lost their lives. With each passing day, the crisis reaches new levels of horror. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has yet to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The shocking images that emerged from Syria this weekend are yet one more reason why Russia must stop shielding the Syrian authorities and act to stop the violence there.

Tell the Russian Foreign Minister that we demand better from global leaders.

It’s easy to despair when seeing what’s happened to civilians in Houla and throughout Syria. But a groundswell of public outrage and support could make the difference between dithering diplomacy and decisive action. That’s why we need to urge Russia to stop blocking the UN Security Council from referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The situation in Syria is desperate. The Syrian people are counting on us to seize this opportunity for action. Thank you for coming together to show Syrians they are not alone.

With hope and determination,

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East and North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Syria Bleeds

>Dear Gabriel,

When will Russia do right by the people of Syria?

In the six weeks since Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s bloody crackdown, 1,179 Syrians have been killed. Amnesty International has received the names of well over 6,500 people killed since March 2011.

On Tuesday Russia vowed to keep pumping arms into the country — arms used to massacre civilians. Russia claims Syrian president Bashar al-Assad needs them to defend against opposition fighters.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of human rights abuses have been committed by state security forces. Amnesty has documented an extremely disturbing — near medieval — pattern of torture and humiliation of anyone merely suspected of opposing the government.

Satellite imagery from Homs and Hama show civilian neighborhoods pocked with artillery impact craters. Field guns are still trained on residential areas and armed forces have not been removed from cities, in direct defiance of a UN General Assembly resolution from mid-February.

It’s time for Russia to stop opposing strong action by the UN Security Council to end the violence in Syria.

Urge Russia to help end the human rights catastrophe in Syria.

While Russia defies international pleas for cooperation, evidence mounts of widespread crimes against humanity committed by security forces.

Amnesty’s new report “‘I Wanted to Die’: Syria’s Torture Survivors Speak Out” details systemic and horrific abuses committed in Syria’s detention centers. Former detainees (men and women) interviewed by Amnesty said that they had either experienced or witnessed 31 methods of torture and other ill-treatment:

“I was very badly beaten. They used pincers to remove flesh from my legs.” – Karim

“We were hung from wood — crucified — while blindfolded and handcuffed, and then beaten mercilessly for several hours.” – Musleh

“I could hear people screaming from the torture, which was worse than physical torture.” – Abd al-Baset

Russia can make a difference in Syria. It must.

Join Amnesty as we ratchet up the pressure on the Russian government. Sign our petition urging Russia to use its influence to bring an end to the grave human rights violations being committed in Syria.

Thank you for all you do to stand up for human rights.

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Stop Violence in Syria

Dear Gabriel,

The death toll continues to rise in Syria. Hundreds of largely unarmed people have reportedly been killed in the city of Homs alone. The crisis in Syria is escalating.

The world must do everything in its power to end the Assad regime’s violent crackdown. Instead, Russia, a country with influence over Syria, appears to be standing by while crimes against humanity are being committed.

Demand that Russia put real pressure on Syrian authorities to end the military assault on Homs.

Last weekend, Russia, together with China, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, crushing one of the last and best hopes of ending the violence that has claimed thousands of lives since March. The resolution — though watered-down — was the closest the global community had come to taking firm action toward ending the violence that has brought Syria to the brink of civil war.

While diplomats wrangled at UN headquarters over the weekend, the Syrian government unleashed a barrage of attacks in Homs. The attacks included the use of heavy weaponry such as tanks in residential areas and claimed hundreds of lives, killing more than a dozen children.

As the Assad regime’s strongest foreign backer, Russia is poised to play a central role in stopping the killing and preventing the bloodbath that will occur if fighting between the government and protesters continues unchecked.

Join Amnesty’s millions-strong global human rights movement — demand that Russia take steps to bring an end to the grave human rights violations that are being committed in Syria.

When Russia blocked the Security Council from taking meaningful action to stop the massive human rights violations in Syria, it stated that it has a better plan for resolving the crisis. But its veto has only served as a green light to the Assad regime to continue to use any means to crush the resistance.

Urge Russia to take public and decisive action to oppose the atrocities being committed in Syria.

Sincerely,

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Take Action On Syria

The UN Security Council has urged Syria’s president to make good on his stated commitment to reform. But what has the Council actually done to stop the widespread abuses being committed in Syria?

Certainly not all it could do.

If the Council was serious about stopping the widespread abuses, then it would demand accountability for the Syrian government’s brutal crimes.

If the Council was serious about stopping the widespread abuses, then it would impose strict measures against Syria, including an arms embargo and freezing the assets of President al-Assad.

What are they waiting for? Urge South Africa, India and Brazil to speak up now to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Most certainly, if the Council was serious about stopping the widespread abuses, then it would refer the worsening situation to the International Criminal Court. This would be the strongest signal possible that individual perpetrators will face justice and deter future violations.

Some members of the Security Council are getting the message and have begun calling for concrete action. But petty political bickering within the Council has swayed increasingly influential members — South Africa, India and Brazil — to the side of inaction.

Until the Council takes firm action, the people of Syria remain at the mercy of a government that shows no signs of stopping its 5 month-long crackdown on human rights.

Right now, Amnesty is building a powerful case against Syria. The evidence of grave human rights abuses is mounting.

Here is where pressure from supporters like you makes all the difference.

In the coming weeks we’ll be unveiling some new data that we’re confident will cause a stir. This evidence will certainly get people talking, but we need you to help get them moving!

Every message of support counts. Tell the governments of South Africa, India and Brazil that it’s time to get serious about Syria.

In Solidarity,

Christoph Koettl
Campaigner, Crisis Prevention and Response
Amnesty International USA

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