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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.