It’s the day after the launch of our new report on Syria and as with most of our high profile reports, I have spent a significant part of today discussing our approach to researching alleged human rights violations.
Inevitably we have been challenged on our findings by individuals who are supporters of the Syrian authorities – I don’t mean the people who say we are a CIA/Mossad/GCC/AlQaeda front organisation….... I mean those who think our contacts in Syria are biased and Amnesty is guilty of not addressing abuses by armed opposition groups.
The more sophisticated commentators are seeking to deflect the issue and locate the crisis within a short time frame, in particular since the emergence of the “Free Syrian Army” and other armed groups.
For sure this is a legitimate area of inquiry but let’s be clear, violations by the Syrian authorities are hardly a new phenomena and Amnesty has a long history of researching and campaigning against violations by the State, long before the uprising last year. It is clear that for a very long time the authorities have been failing in their own responsibility to protect Syrian civilians.
But even if one were to take the Syrian governments line as 100% accurate it is odd that they still fail to co-operate fully with the UN observer mission who could verify government accounts. One would expect them to be breaking down the doors of the UN, demanding more observers who could help deter attacks from "terrorists" and verify government accounts for a Western public duped by "mainstream media"..
They continue to fail in providing full co-operation and unimpeded access to the independent international Commission of Inquiry to investigate ALL alleged crimes under international law and violations and abuses of international human rights law.
Also, they have not invited the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, as well as other relevant UN Special Procedure mandate holders so they can also carry out independent investigations and you would think, verify the governments accounts.
So If the Syrian authorities really wanted to show the world that their version of events was correct surely they would agree to these obvious recommendations.
They are not unaware of these requests to investigate but they still refuse entry - you could say "what have they got to hide?" but by now we know the answer.
I hope those who act as apologists for the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Syrian authorities will think about these inconsistencies in the Syrian government’s logic. I hope they will ask themselves what it is they are defending and what future they want for Syria. For the rest of you, sickened by the violence, please take action here.
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