For Immediate Release: February 21, 2012
Washington, DC – Following a New York Times report that the Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport’s has no intention of cutting off its sales to Syria, Human Rights First today renewed its call for the State and Treasury Departments to tighten sanctions against companies providing material and financial support to enable the ongoing Syrian atrocities. The organization also called on the United States to cease its own business with these companies, including arms purchases from Rosoboronexport.
A Rosoboronexport spokesperson recently stated that the company has no intention to cut off supplies to the Syrian regime, adding “since there are no international decisions, and there are no sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, there are no other decisions, our cooperation with Syria – the military-technical cooperation – remains quite active and dynamic.”
“Current sanctions can only go so far when third-party companies are resolved to so blatantly ignore atrocities happening on the ground and the role their own companies continue to play in enabling these crimes,” said Human Rights First’s Sadia Hameed. “The United States has said all of the right things in recent weeks, but now they must act. The U.S. government should immediately halt its own purchases from Rosoboronexport and other enablers of the ongoing Syrian atrocities. It should also look across the departments to see what other pressure can be applied to disrupt these supply chains.”
Earlier this month, Human Rights First urged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use his authority to block companies from supplying the Syrian government with goods needed to perpetuate its ongoing human rights abuses. For example, the group urged Geithner to use his Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) authority to address and disrupt Rosoboronexport’s plan to fulfill its contract to sell the Syrian government 36 combat jets capable of attacking ground targets.
To speak with Hameed or for additional information, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-370-3323.