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On arms transfers to armed opposition groups in Syria


The following is taken from our new briefing released 14 March 2013 Syria: Summary killings and other abuses by armed opposition groups. (PDF)

In light of the abuses documented in this briefing, Amnesty International urges any state considering supplying arms to armed opposition groups in Syria to first carry out a rigorous human rights risk assessment and establish a robust monitoring process which would enable all arms transfer proposals to be carefully considered before any approval is granted. The monitoring mechanism should recommend strong mitigation measures to be adopted in relation to a potential recipient so as to remove any substantial risk the arms would be misused for serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. This mechanism should also allow for any arms transfer subsequently approved to be rapidly halted should evidence emerge that the arms are being or will be used to carry out serious human rights abuses, or are being transferred or diverted to third parties. 

The mechanism should also include a system for limiting arms supplied to only those weapons, munitions and related equipment which are not inherently indiscriminate, such as anti-personnel land mines or cluster bombs. 

There should also be a system for ensuring that those who receive the arms are first equipped with the practical knowledge and awareness of international human rights and humanitarian law to understand their obligations to uphold the relevant standards and their criminal liability under international criminal law should they fail to do so.

You can read both Amnesty reports released today here. It would make sense to read the report on opposition abuses in full to contextualise the statement above, including the recommendations at the end of the report.

Further resources

More information on the need for an effective Arms Trade Treaty

EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports

More information on International Humanitarian Law


About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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