News / Middle East

    Rights Group Criticizes Some Countries for Letting Syrian Crackdown Continue

    Rights Group Criticizes Some Countries for Letting Syrian Crackdown Continue
    Rights Group Criticizes Some Countries for Letting Syrian Crackdown Continue
    Margaret Besheer

    In a new report, Human Rights Watch sharply criticizes Russia and China for blocking action on Syria in the U.N. Security Council and takes aim at other countries that it says have also been obstacles to stopping the 10-month violent repression in Syria.

    The annual human rights review of more than 90 countries highlights the spread of the Arab Spring democratic movement and urges the international community to give strong support to the countries in North Africa and the Middle East that are seeking democratic reform, instead of backing autocrats who have kept oil exports flowing.

    In its report, the monitoring group Human Rights Watch criticizes some Western governments for being slow in challenging former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak until it was clear he would have to step down.  The group also says there has been little real pressure on Bahrain’s government for having crushed its democracy movement.  And in Yemen, the rights group expressed disappointment that Western countries accepted a plan that includes immunity for outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

    Human Rights Watch reserved its strongest criticism for the events in Syria, where the government of President Bashar al-Assad has brutally put down anti-government protests.

    The rights group says the ongoing repression has undermined the few reforms President Assad has enacted.  The report details large-scale military operations on several towns and the arbitrary arrest, torture and murder of thousands of citizens.

    Speaking at the United Nations launch of "World Report 2012," Human Rights Watch's U.N. Director Philippe Bolopion singled out Russia and China, which used their Security Council veto in October to prevent a resolution on Syria. “We think they really bear a huge responsibility.  Over 3,000 people have been killed in Syria since the two countries cast their vetoes to block any council action.  And we still have not had a single resolution on Syria, despite more than 5,000 people being killed," he said.

    Bolopion said Russia’s actions are especially disturbing because they can be seen to be contributing to the escalation of violence in Syria.  He pointed to recent media reports about a Russian ship carrying ammunition that docked in the Syrian port of Tartus and another report that Moscow has signed a half-billion dollar deal to sell 36 fighter jets to Damascus.

    “Russia has presided over really what have been half-hearted attempts at negotiating a weak [Security Council] resolution over the last few weeks.  And in the meantime, Russia has continued selling and delivering weapons to Syria, which is really an insult to the Syrian people who are at the receiving end of these weapons," he said.

    Bolopion also criticized India and South Africa, which are non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and Brazil, which recently completed a two-year council term in December, for their positions on Syria.  All three abstained on the Syria resolution that Russia and China vetoed in October.  Bolopion called that a “profound mistake."

    “For countries who are emerging powers, who are countries who have a pretty decent record on human rights at home, it is extremely disturbing to see in the Security Council they have been siding with Russia and China on this," he said.

    For months, the Security Council has been divided over what to do on Syria.

    On Sunday, the Arab League called on the U.N.’s most powerful body to support its initiative to end the violence.  The plan calls for President Assad to transfer power to a deputy and allow the formation of a national unity government with the opposition within two months.  The new government would be responsible for organizing parliamentary and presidential elections under Arab and international supervision.  The Syrian government has rejected the plan.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora