For Immediate Release: June 28, 2012
Washington, DC – Human Rights First welcomes the decision by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend an emergency meeting on Syria this weekend. After no progress was made between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, this meeting marks another opportunity for the United States, Russia and other countries to agree on concrete steps to resolve the escalating crisis in Syria.
“We expect to see concrete steps and action toward an immediate ceasefire to follow this emergency meeting,” says Human Rights First’s Sadia Hameed. “At minimum, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Turkey and the Arab League should use this meeting to agree to an international arms embargo on Syria and an ICC referral of crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by the Syrian regime forces.”
Syria teeters at the brink of civil war with a death toll of 14,000 and violence escalating to levels even more intense now than before the Annan plan was proposed.
“With arms flowing unabated to the regime forces and opposition attacks on non-military targets emerging, it is clear that unless there is an immediate ceasefire, innocent Syrian civilians will continue to lose their lives,” says Hameed. “In this climate, inaction is simply not an option. While it is clear that foreign governments like the U.S. and Russia remain at odds about the fate of Bashar al Assad, confronting these differences must be central to these emergency talks if they are to have any real impact on the fate of the Syrian people.”