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

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Multimedia Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs