For Immediate Release: September 12, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First welcomes the intense focus that the Obama Administration is now placing on the possibility of a strong multilateral diplomatic response to the August 21 gas attacks through the U.N. Security Council. During today’s meeting in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the United States should use the opportunity push for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and for the resumption of multilateral negotiations leading to an end to the conflict.
“President Putin’s opinion piece in the New York Times disingenuously suggested that Russia is doing everything within its power to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. “It is time for Russian politicians to put their money where their mouth is. If Putin is serious about ending the conflict, he will work with the United States to pass a Security Council resolution, and stop supplying the Assad regime with the weapons it is using to kill innocent civilians.”
Human Rights First today released two fact sheets which outline steps that the United States can take to tighten financial sanctions on the Assad regime and its enablers, as well as recommendations for policies that the United States should bring to the U.N. The U.S. government should push for a Security Council resolution that:
- Condemns the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons.
- Refers the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court so that the war crimes, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity, including the August 21 gas attacks, can be investigated and those responsible held accountable.
- Requires that the Syrian government turns over its stockpiles of chemical weapons to international control for their eventual destruction within a short period of time, and submit to rigorous international inspection to ensure compliance.
- Authorize the use of all necessary measures, including the use of force, should the Syrian government fail to comply.
For more information or to speak with Hicks, contact Brenda Bowser Soder at BowserSoderB@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3323.