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Hague's announcement on aid to Syria: opposition should be warned about war crimes

Responding to today’s announcement by the Foreign Secretary William Hague on aiding opposition groups in Syria, Amnesty International UK Syria Campaign Manager Kristyan Benedict said:

“Practical measures which aim to protect all of Syria's civilians are to be welcomed.

“The UK Government and its partners would be doing a great service to Syrian people if it helps develop the awareness and mechanisms to ensure the armed opposition leadership make clear to their forces that war crimes and human rights abuses will never be tolerated.

“The UK needs to be crystal clear with the commanders of Syria’s armed opposition that they have a duty to prevent war crimes by those under their command. The UK should also emphasise to them that they may be held criminally responsible if they fail to do so.

“Amnesty International wants to see a Syria which genuinely respects and protects everybody’s human rights - instilling and expanding human rights values in the armed and civilian opposition is a key part of that process.”

Meanwhile, responding to the Foreign Secretary’s remarks about practical assistance for human rights activists in Syria, Kristyan Benedict added:

“The promise of training for human rights activists and citizen journalists is very welcome, and it will be important that this complements what the UN’s own Commission of Inquiry on Syria is already trying to do.”

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