Tag Archives: Bashar al-Assad

[Int’l/Petition] A Solution for Syria -www.avaaz.org

A Solution for Syria-www.avaaz.org

Photo source avaaz


Dear friends,

Just weeks ago the kids in this image were gassed to death in their sleep. There is one peaceful way to stop these massacres – if Iran and the US sit down to talks and bring the warring parties to the table to get a ceasefire. For the first time the two Presidents are showing dialogue is possible. Let’s tell them the world wants talks to start saving lives now! Sign up:

Sign the petition
Just weeks ago the kids in this image were gassed to death in their sleep, but it feels the world has forgotten them and got stuck in a debate between US strikes or doing nothing. Now there is a glimmer of hope for a peaceful way to stop these massacres.

Syria’s bloody war has been fuelled by rivalry between Iran, Assad‘s main backer, and the US and their allies. But this vile chemical attack has changed their discourse: Iran’s new moderate president condemned the gassing and Obama signalled he’d work with “anybody” to resolve the conflict. Let’s urgently call on both leaders to sit down to talks and bring the warring parties together before any more lives are lost.

Right now, the global drums of war are beating over Syria, but if enough of us make sure Rouhani and Obama know the world wants bold diplomacy, we could end the nightmare for thousands of terrified Syrian children under threat of new gas attacks. We have no time to lose. Click now to join this urgent call — when we reach one million signers we will deliver the petition directly to the two presidents:


Syria’s the most brutal war of our generation, and this chemical attack on innocent civilians is the worst our world has seen in 30 years. The world has a responsibility to protect Syrians from extermination, but for two years the international community has been shamefully gridlocked and has failed the innocent victims. Now, despite overwhelming evidence that Assad’s forces launched the attack, Syria’s backers have sown doubt and, wary of war, the world is unsure about a humanitarian intervention. These talks are a new chance to stop the bloodshed.

It’s always been believed that the US would never talk to Iran and that Iran would never help the US solve the Syrian crisis, but current evidence points to change and hope. President Obama may launch strikes, but he has no public support for a longer war, and he is looking for a way out of a sustained conflict. And 130 members of the US Congress are calling on President Obama to talk with Iran. A massive global public push for diplomacy right now could push Obama towards talks.

Iran’s former President Ahmadinejad spent billions supplying cash and weapons to the Assad regime. But the new President Rouhani was elected on a ticket to build bridges with the West and favours a political settlement with the Syrian opposition. The chemical attack is eroding Iranian public support for Assad, rekindling painful memories of Iraq’s gas attacks on Iran, and insiders say pressure is building to reconsider Iran’s support for Assad. This could be a tipping point to bring Rouhani to the table.

Talks won’t stop the horror overnight, but there is no quick and easy solution. We urgently need to get started on a path that can stop the killing of innocent children and bring the world closer together rather than tear us further apart. Let’s get the US and Iran to start talks now:


A roadmap has already been put in motion for a Syrian peace process in Geneva, but this is the first time there could be the political will to overlook all the differences and sit down. Iran is the only country in the world with sufficient influence in Syria to push the regime to the table. And the US, with its Middle East allies, can push the opposition to sit down.

It took the horror of the Second World War to get the United Nations and the Declaration of Human Rights. Maybe the horror of Syria might finally push the US and Iran, and their moderate presidents, to address longstanding differences and build the basis for a more lasting peace for Syria and the region, with consequences for a host of global issues from nuclear proliferation to peace in Israel and Palestine. Our community has stood by the Syrian people from the very beginning. Now they need us more than ever. Let’s give it our best shot.

With hope,

Alice, Luis, Ian, Emily, Bissan, Antonia, Ricken, Lisa, Mais and the whole Avaaz team

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[People] Syria – choosing the lesser evil by Fr. Shay Cullen

Syria – choosing the lesser evil
by Fr. Shay Cullen


The attention of the international news media is focused on what the United States will do to prevent the Assad regime from using abhorrent chemical weapons again. The US Senate has given the go signal to President Obama. The alleged war crime and crimes against humanity that Assad and his followers are accused of committing by using poison gas to kill as many as 1,429 people, four hundred of them children, are shocking and must be condemned.

The evidence that has been presented so far by the Western governments, while still waiting for the report from the UN inspectors, gives a very strong case that the Assad government did indeed commit a heinous war crime against its own people, most of them civilians, women and children. We have to speak out and denounce such evil act if indeed true as it appears to be so.

The use of poison gas has been internationally outlawed since the First World War as a weapon of mass destruction, the evidence so far indicates that sarin, a deadly gas that brings an agonizing and painful death to its victims was used in the attack. There have been other reported incidents of smaller attacks with video evidence of dying and dead people and flocks of birds downed in rebel held areas due to a suspected gas attack.

According to the Wikipedia on-line encyclopedia it says: “Syria is one of five states that have not signed and one of seven that have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. However, in 1968, Syria acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases. In the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Syria denied that it had chemical weapons, but admitted it possessed such weapons in 2012. The Syrian President had earlier alluded to a chemical weapon capability in public statements, in 1990 and 1997″.

In desperation and fear of a possible defeat and subsequent wipe out of his family and his tribe, Assad and his military are apparently resorting to chemical warfare. This is a horrendous crime and can cause terrible deaths among civilians. If the wind suddenly changes then it can be carried into the center of Damascus and kill many more including diplomats and the many Filipinos there who refuse to leave their well-paying jobs.

The British parliament has voted against any military strike to degrade the capability of Assad to use these terrible weapons. The French President is waiting to support the decision of the United States when the US congress finally decides whether to authorize a strike or not.

President Obama was caught between a rock and a hard place. He has implacable enemies among the fanatical members of the Republican Party who have blocked his many positive initiatives in other areas in the past.

If he ordered a limited strike against Syria he would be lambasted with criticism from his Republican Congressional enemies. When he did not strike they were already questioning his leadership ability and practically calling him a do-nothing President and would blame him if the Assad regime was to commit more war crimes.

Besides, if Obama had ordered a strike, the Assad regime would possibly retaliate by striking back against Israel with chemical weapons. Obama would be blamed for that too. The Israeli government has distributed thousands of gas masks to a panicky nation just in case. In a politically smart move, he wisely deferred to the US congress to make the decision.

The ball is now in their court. If they don’t approve a strike they can be accused of ignoring a horrendous war crime and giving encouragement to the enemy of the Syrian people allowing them to be gassed to death for their opposition to his oppressive regime. It will be seen as if the US Congress is condoning a modern day Nazi death chamber.

This is anathema to the Jewish race; millions of them were gassed to death under the Nazi genocide of WWII. They have enough gas chambers, one Scud missile into their territory and all hell will break loose. Israel could well strike against the palace and person of Assad and his mother who is the power behind the Assad throne. May all out war never happen.

There has to be a choice as to which is the greatest good, to strike or not to strike. And a choice as to which is the greatest evil, to allow Assad to tyrannically gas thousands more of his people or try to prevent it by destroying his delivery vehicles such as the scud and other missiles and their command and control centers. We are morally bound to choose the lesser evil in such situations. That is the choice facing the US Congress.

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[From the web] Philippines abstains on UN vote on Syria -ABS-CBN News

Philippines abstains on UN vote on Syria

by Lucy Christie, Agence France-Presse
March 1, 2012

GENEVA, Switzerland – The UN’s Human Rights Council called on Syria Thursday to end all rights abuses and allow aid agencies “free and unimpeded” access to those caught up in the bloodshed.

A resolution adopted by the council condemned the “continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights” and urged the authorities to let humanitarian groups, including UN organisations, in to deliver vital aid.

Russia, China and Cuba voted against the resolution while India, the Philippines and Ecuador abstained.

Thirty-seven states voted in favour and four of the body’s 47 members did not vote.

The vote came as Syrian forces pushed on with a ground assault against the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr after 27 straight days of bombardments. Attempts to send relief agencies into Homs have met consistent opposition.

It is the fourth time the council has officially condemned human rights violations committed by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad since the crackdown on protests began in March last year, leaving more than 7,500 dead according to the UN.


[International] Vague and Procedural Commitments: Asian States Failed to Make the UN Human Rights Council Elections Meaningful

Vague and Procedural Commitments:
Asian States Failed to Make the UN Human Rights Council Elections Meaningful

UNHRC file photo source indiadaily.org

UNHRC. file photo source indiadaily.org

(20 May 2011, Geneva/Bangkok) – The United Nations General Assembly elected 15 new member States to the Human Rights Council (Council), a 47-member intergovernmental body mandated to promote universal respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Seats to the Council are allotted by regional groupings, and today’s election saw the inclusion of 4 new Asian members to the Council, namely India (181 votes), Indonesia (184 votes), the Philippines (183 votes) and Kuwait (166 votes). Kuwait was the last-minute candidate State, replacing Syria which had deferred its bid for a seat amidst its deplorable human rights record as protesters in the country continue to face severe and violent repression.

“We are deeply dismayed at the conduct of the group of Asian States, who again put forward only as many candidates as there were vacancies through the practice of endorsement within the regional group. This tendency of seeking “clean slates” deprives the opportunity for the General Assembly to select members to the Council based on their human rights performances as well as the quality of their voluntary pledges and commitments”, expressed Mr. Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “While we welcome Syria’s move not to assert its bid at this year’s election, we regret that Kuwait’s hasty candidacy was presented in the same manner based on the pre-determined agreement within the group of  Asian States”, he added.

Voluntary pledges and commitments made by candidate States are expected to be measurable and time-bound with concrete action points for implementation. It is also imperative that the pledges are based on open and inclusive consultation with all stakeholders in the country and involve streamlining the recommendations from UN human rights mechanisms, including Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review. “It is disappointing that the pledges and commitments presented by India, Indonesia and the Philippines fall short of being an effective tool to gauge their qualification for membership to the Council as they continue to be vague and devoid of any concrete assurance which reduces them to simply a procedural exercise”, said Ms. Poengky Indarti, Executive Director of the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL). “Indonesia’s commitment to promote interfaith cooperation at the international and multilateral levels is positive, however the same initiatives must be prioritised at home as well by building on the calls of affected constituencies in the country”, she continued.

In addition, the pledges made by the three Asian States have raised more questions rather than provide clarity on their commitments. “India has expressed its commitment to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). However, uncertainty remains whether the Government of India will render its full support and ensure that the Prevention of Torture Bill 2010, as amended by the Select Committee of the Upper House, is passed by both Houses of Parliament at the earliest. Failing which, India’s commitment towards the ratification of the CAT would become questionable”, said Ms. Vrinda Grover, representative of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR).

“The membership election was one of the Council’s landmark features when it was established in 2006. The clean slates practice must end immediately so that States may stand for election and compete on their serious and demonstrable contributions and pledges in upholding the highest human rights standards and fully cooperating with the Council. To this end, certain measures must be put in place for the Council to meet the membership standards set out in General Assembly resolution 60/251, for instance, annual assessment of the level of cooperation by member and candidate States with the Council and its sub-organs.”, urged Mr. Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). (ENDS)

For further information or media interviews, please contact:
In Bangkok, Yap Swee Seng, FORUM-ASIA, +66 81 868 9178, yap@forum-asia.org
In Geneva, Giyoun Kim, FORUM-ASIA, +41 79 595 7931, una@forum-asia.org

Notes to editors:
·         Member States of the UN Human Rights Council (Council) are elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the UN General Assembly (GA). The 47 seats to the Council are distributed as follows among regional groups: Asian States (13); African States (13); Latin American and Caribbean States (8); Eastern European States (6); and Western European and other States (7). The members of the Council serve for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.

·         The elections of members to the Council take place every year in May. Four for out of the six elections since 2006, Asian States have attempted to put forward “clean slates”. The elections for 15 new members to the Council for 2011-2014 took place in New York today on 20 May 2011 at 10 a.m. EST. With today’s election results, Asian member States sitting in the Council from 19 June 2011 are Bangladesh, China, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, the Maldives, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.

·         When electing members of the Council, the GA shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto. The pledges and commitments made by Asian candidate States are available at:

India, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/758
Indonesia, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/807
Philippines, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/790
Kuwait, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/65/839