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Do Not Insult Millions of Syrians

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Do Not Insult Millions of Syrians

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Fadel Abdul Ghany, Executive Director of SNHR

The massive and continuous atrocities by the Syrian regime against its own people since the beginning of the popular uprising in March 2011 have been well-documented. Despite this, however, impunity is still the decisive outcome to date, notwithstanding the many initiatives by the Arab League and the international community to end violence and hold the regime accountable. Even worse, these efforts did not even have any effect in diminishing the violence, with the regime instead doubling down in its aggression and committing more monstrous violations against the Syrian people that constitute crimes against humanity.
The most recent report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI) confirms that the Syrian regime is still carrying out arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and crimes of killing under torture. Meanwhile, SNHR’s database shows that approximately 96,000 Syrian citizens have been forcibly disappeared since March 2011, while at least 201,000 civilians’ lives have been lost, including 23,000 children. Moreover, the regime has dropped approximately 82,000 barrel bombs and used chemical weapons in 217 attacks. It is indisputable that the Syrian regime’s violations are the main and primary cause of the displacement of 14 million Syrians who have either been internally displaced or have sought refuge in foreign countries.
Despite all these inexcusable and damning indictments, however, some states are attempting to re-establish relations with the Syrian regime, regardless of its continued violence and its contempt for international law and human rights. Not only are these efforts blatant and grotesque insults to the Syrian people, but they can be viewed as a form of support for the regime’s crimes against humanity. Any such attempts will, undoubtedly, only offer further encouragement and impunity to the regime and other, similar murderous authoritarian regimes around the world. In addition, these efforts at rehabilitating the regime send a regrettably unprincipled and message to the international community, showing callous disregard for the millions of victims who have suffered or died at its handed.
Whatever the case, in light of the ongoing atrocities, those states that have, for whatever reasons, shown a willingness to restore relations with the Syrian regime must call on it to take immediate remedial action, including the release of political prisoners, disbanding extraordinary courts, and holding the perpetrators of violations against the Syrian people to account. Those states should also work towards actualizing a political resolution in Syria that would ensure the dignified and safe return of millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.
As Martin Arnold once said, silence in the face of tyranny is a crime against humanity. We must not stand idly by while the regime continues its atrocities against its people. All states, including Arab ones, bear responsibility for respecting international law and human rights, and for holding the Syrian regime to account. The peoples of those states need to be aware of the crucial weight and importance of this issue and its impact on their future and the future of the region as a whole.

The article was first published by the Syria TV news site.

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