Amnesty slams U.N. inaction on Syria

May 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) -- Some members of the U.N. Security Council are protecting their interests with the Syrian government without concern for human life, Amnesty International says.

Amnesty International, in its 444-page annual report published Thursday, said action to address the yearlong crisis in Syria was handicapped by the national interests of some members of the Security Council.

The United Nations estimates at least 9,000 people in Syria have died as a result of conflict. Human rights groups say the government has committed crimes against its people, though Damascus maintains it is fighting domestic terrorists.

The Security Council, however, has been unable to issue more than a presidential statement because of objections to formal action by Russia and China, two veto-wielding members of the panel.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said the stubbornness of Russia and China is putting the credibility of the Security Council at risk.

"The determination of some council members to shield Syria at any cost renders accountability for these crimes elusive, betrays the Syrian people and undermines the struggle for freedom and human rights everywhere," she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, an independent commission of inquiry on Syria established by the U.N. Human Rights Council expressed serious concern about the ongoing conflict.

Opposition forces, the commission found, were increasingly resorting to hostage-taking, torture and summary executions of captured Syrian forces. "Most" of the rights violations uncovered by the commission were committed by Syrian forces, the five-page report stated.

"While the Security Council had referred Moammar Gadhafi to the International Criminal Court (in 2011), it took no such action against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad despite compelling evidence that his forces were committing crimes against humanity," the annual report from Amnesty read.

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