Syria: another BRIC in the wall?

The situation in Syria is truly brutal and you wonder how bad it has to get before the United Nations Security Council will do something about it.

What is the Security Council for if not to step in when something like 1,500 people have been killed in a country after largely peaceful protests?

How many people have to be shot in the head by snipers? How many tortured to death in prison cells?

I was actually working this same rhetorical line in a post a couple of weeks ago – “How much more horror…?” etc – but the international community is still almost rigid with inaction.

Amnesty is at least trying to prod the Security Council into movement. The governments of Brazil, India and South Africa are currently sitting on their hands over the need for a strong resolution that condemns human rights abuses in Syria (at least this, surely). So, in a nice bit of joined-up lobbying, Amnesty’s set up an online campaign where you can call on the embassies of these three countries to … get off their metaphorical arses. Please support it.

Brazil and India are so-called “BRIC” countries, the “emerging powers” of Brazil, Russia, India and China (actually, I think China’s already there…). The point is that these soon-to-be superpowers ought to be using their new-found influence constructively, not siding with dictatorial regimes like Bashar al-Assad’s. True, Russia and China have a long record of blocking moves over human rights on the international stage – but how grievously disappointing it will be if India and Brazil join them as new blockers. New BRICs in the wall.

There are fears that Syria’s already dire situation could take yet another downward spiral into sectarian-toned violence (Alawis v Sunnis). This could be truly horrendous. It’s yet another reason why the UN should act now, not clear up the mess later.

Meanwhile, if there’s hope in Syria at the moment it’s with people like Haytham al-Maleh, a 79-year-old life-time human rights campaigner in Syria. Check out his amazing story here: 79 years old and still going very strong. I like his attitude too: “I’m not worried at all … I have a motto: ‘Let go of worries and start living!’”

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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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