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: Continue reading
2 April 2013
UN puts human rights at heart of historic Arms Trade Treaty
Today, governments at the United Nations adopted by a wide margin an Arms Trade Treaty that will prohibit states from transferring conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons will be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.
In the UN General Assembly 154 states voted to adopt the treaty just days after Iran, North Korea and Syria – three human rights-abusing countries under some form of UN sanctions – staged a cynical move to try and block it. All three voted against the treaty today and 23 other states abstained.
“The world has been waiting a long time for this historic treaty. After long years of campaigning, most states have agreed to adopt a global treaty that can prevent the flow of arms into countries where they will be used to commit atrocities,” said Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, from the UN conference in New York.
“Despite Iran, North Korea and Syria’s deeply cynical attempt to stymie it, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations have shown resounding support for this lifesaving treaty with human rights protection at its core.”
15 March 2013
Emboldened by the fall of repressive governments in Tunisia and Egypt, Syria’s opposition activists started taking action in early 2011. Their uprisings grew wings – on social media and on the streets – and in March, Syria’s Local Coordination Committees (LCCs) were born. They organized local protests and shared information with other activists and the media, nationally and abroad.
Breaking down the barriers
Just months before, activities like these had been impossible in Syria. “Anyone who did something even small scale would be at risk of disappearing,” said Amnesty International’s Syria researcher, Cilina Nasser.
Nevertheless, the ranks of pro-reform activists continued to swell, and “Days of Rage” public protests began cropping up. Many protesters didn’t even know each other – they had met on social media and arranged to meet at mosques – the only viable places for group gatherings.
26 June 2012
Syria: Detained medics tortured and killed amid Aleppo crackdown
The discovery of the charred and mutilated bodies of three young medical workers a week after their arrest in Aleppo city is yet further evidence of the Syrian government forces’ appalling disregard for the sanctity of the role of medical workers, Amnesty International said.
All three men were students at Aleppo University – Basel Aslan and Mus’ab Barad were fourth-year medical students and Hazem Batikh was a second-year English literature student and a first-aid medic.
They were part of a team of doctors, nurses and first-aiders who have been providing life-saving medical treatment in makeshift “field hospitals” set up to treat demonstrators shot by security forces and who could not therefore go to state-run hospitals for fear of being arrested, tortured or even killed.
Devastating brutality. Shattered families, shattered futures. Syria is descending further into chaos — a human rights catastrophe in the making.
“They killed my sons, the dearest things I had… How can a mother endure such pain?” The words of one mother interviewed by Amnesty International researcher Donatella Rovera after her three sons were dragged from their home, brutally killed and burned.
She is one of many mothers in Syria who right now are facing the unendurable. And her story is just one of many heartbreaking, firsthand accounts of cold-blooded killings and destruction gathered by Amnesty International on the ground in Syria, documented in the new report Deadly Reprisals.