Russia urged to back UN Syria move

 

Campaigners from around the world are urging Russia to back the UN Security Council and help bring an end to the crisis in Syria, coinciding with what they are calling the one-year anniversary of violence in the country.

A coalition of 200 non-government organisations (NGOs) from 27 countries is demanding that the UN Security Council unites and passes a resolution calling on the Syrian government to stop shelling civilian neighbourhoods and stop other violations of international law, arbitrary arrests and torture, as well as granting urgent access to humanitarian workers, journalists and human rights monitors.

The group includes Human Rights Watch, Christian Aid, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, CIVICUS and the International Federation of Human Rights.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said: "Russia and China have twice blocked Security Council action, a defence of Assad that he has interpreted as a licence to kill.

"Moscow and Beijing should stop providing diplomatic cover for Syrian atrocities, and start demanding an end to indiscriminate shelling and attacks on peaceful protesters."

Souher Belhassen, president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), added: "The Syrian people have survived with outstanding courage one year of systematic and widespread crimes and bloodshed as the world stood by and watched.

"The international community must unite and help Syrians bring an end to the horror."

The coalition wants the UN Security Council to urgently pass a resolution calling on the Syrian government to bring an immediate end to its indiscriminate shelling and attacks on peaceful protesters, and also for the international community to provide full support to Kofi Annan, UN special representative for Syria, including engaging Russia and China in any UN initiative to end the crisis.

It also wants the Syrian government and other armed actors to guarantee full and unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas of the country in which there is a need in accordance with international law, and for the Friends of Syria group to uphold promises to provide funding for humanitarian assistance.

A Twitter Campaign has also been set up, hoped to reach several million people, with well-known Twitterati involved, including British actor Stephen Fry and singer Nelly Furtado.

Ziad Abdel Tawab, deputy director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, said: "For a full year, the death toll in Syria has escalated to the horrifying total of more than 8,000 dead, including hundreds of children.

"Isn't it time for the world to unite behind effective steps to stop this now?"

The coalition's call follows an announcement this week by the UN that it would shortly deploy human rights monitors to neighbouring states to collect evidence of atrocities in Syria.

Access to the country itself is almost impossible for observers.

Also this week, Amnesty International said it had fresh evidence of widespread abuses of civilians detained by security forces in the year-long crackdown on anti-government protests.

In a report that identified 31 torture methods described by witnesses, Amnesty said the situation resembled the "nightmare" of Syria in the 1970s and 1980s, when the country was ruled by the father of today's president, Bashar Assad.

Amnesty based its conclusion on testimony gathered from Syrians in Jordan - including 25 who said they had been tortured.

Its report concluded: "The testimony presented in this report, taken in the context of other human rights violations committed against civilians in Syria, is yet further evidence that torture and other ill-treatment in Syria form part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population - carried out in an organised manner and as part of state policy and therefore amount to crimes against humanity."

At least 276 people had so far died in custody, it said, with security forces effectively given impunity to torture despite it being outlawed by a new constitution.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore