NEW YORK, June 4 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch Monday called on nations and companies to stop signing new deals with Russia's arms trading firm because it exports weapons to Syria.
In a statement, the New York-based organization, which advocates on human rights matters worldwide, suggested that providing weapons to Syria could be regarded as abetting crimes against humanity.
It urged governments and businesses around the world to stop signing contracts with Rosoboronexport, suggesting that "in light of compelling evidence that the Syrian army is responsible for crimes against humanity against Syria's people," the Russian state-owned company's continued dealings with the Syrian government places it "at risk of complicity in these crimes."
The year-long deployments of the Syrian military against its own citizens, and recent and planned exports of weapons to Syria, raise serious concerns, the statement said.
"Rosoboronexport's clients should distance themselves from the company until it stops selling arms to Syria," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "The bottom line is that no one should do new business with any company that may be an accomplice to crimes against humanity."