Syria: Brazil, India and South Africa lobbied to suport UN resolution

Amnesty International is calling on the governments of Brazil, India and South Africa to support a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning human rights abuses in Syria.

The organisation is writing to embassies for the three countries in dozens of countries in a concerted lobbying campaign urging the trio to support a strong resolution condemning the Syrian authorities’ use of tanks, snipers and torture to suppress peaceful dissent.

Amnesty believes that the pattern of abuses including murder and torture are sufficient to warrant investigation as possible crimes against humanity.

The United Nations Security Council is currently considering a resolution on the situation in Syria, but there are reports that - along with China and Russia - Brazil, India and South Africa are refusing to support the move. In its letter Amnesty urges the three countries to “put an end” to “silence” on the issue, whilst recognising that the three are “key players in the international arena” and “have the opportunity and a responsibility” to act over Syria.

The lobbying move is being supported by mass-scale online activism (www.amnesty.org.uk/syria).

Amnesty sees a strong resolution as an important move that could lead to the Security Council later referring the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The organisation is also urging the Syrian authorities to provide unimpeded access to UN investigators currently examining the severe deterioration of human rights in Syria.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“While peaceful protestors are being shot in the streets in Syria, key members of the UN Security Council are remaining silent - a shocking state of affairs.

“We need to see strong condemnation of the bloodshed in Syria from the Security Council and in particular Brazil, India and South Africa should move from being ‘blockers’ to ‘enablers’.

“This trio of countries aspire to major-power status and they should use their influence to support human rights in the Middle East.”

Yesterday Amnesty warned that dozens of men were being held incommunicado at unknown locations and were at risk of torture after the Syrian security forces conducted mass arrests in a Damascus suburb over the weekend. Tanks and armed men moved into Qatana, south-west of the capital, on Saturday, opening fire on unarmed residents and carrying out raids, randomly arresting dozens of men between the ages of 18 and 40.

Meanwhile, Amnesty recently published a report showing how Syrian security forces in the western town of Tell Kalakh may have committed crimes against humanity. It detailed how scores of male residents, including some aged over 60 and boys aged less than 18 years, were rounded up and detained. Most were reportedly tortured, some even as they were being arrested, according to accounts. At least nine people died in custody after being arrested, according to witnesses. Eight of these men - some of whom had been active in demonstrations - were shot at and wounded as they were ordered out of a house, and were then taken away by soldiers.
 

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