End the humanitarian crisis in Syria

With reportedly more than 100,000 lives lost already, and more than six million people either displaced internally or having fled over borders as refugees, it is well beyond the time for hand-wringing. Amnesty International neither condones nor opposes military intervention in Syria, but we are calling on the international community to work together to address the factors that are fueling the conflict and exacerbating its toll on civilians, by:

  1. Assisting Syrian refugees and civilians who have been displaced: countries with the means should step up their financial and technical support to Syria’s neighboring countries, increase contributions to the UN humanitarian appeal for Syria, and offer expanded resettlement and humanitarian admission programs.
  2. Stopping the flow of arms that are fueling the conflict by imposing an arms embargo on the Syrian government and by stopping any arms transfers to armed opposition groups where there is a substantial risk of the group committing serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
  3. Referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes and other crimes against humanity which Amnesty International has documented and ensure those who violate international law face trial. Additionally, all governments should accept a shared responsibility to investigate and prosecute serious crimes under international law by using the principle of universal jurisdiction to bring suspects to trial before national courts.
  4. Freezing the assets of President al-Assad and his close associates.
  5. Demanding that any chemical weapons are turned over to the appropriate UN authority for destruction and calling on the Syrian government to ratify and implement the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  6. Deploying human rights monitors and demanding that the Syrian government and opposition forces allow the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry immediate access to assess who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons and investigate other ongoing allegations of serious crimes committed during the conflict.

The US government should use its influence on the UN Security Council to work together with the international community to advance these measures. Click here to call on President Obama and the Congressional Leadership to bring about humanitarian solutions to Syria.

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