Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

International crimes are being perpetrated by the Syrian authorities

International crimes are being perpetrated by the Syrian

16th Special Session of the Human Rights Council “on the
situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic”. Intervention of Radwan
Ziadeh  Damascus Center for Human Rights

Dear Respected Ambassadors and Representatives,

While I am speaking to you here in Geneva as a Syrian first,
and as a human rights activist second, my fellow Syrians are demonstrating in
most of the cities across the country, and this despite the use of live
ammunition against them which has led to the death of more than 700 citizens,
hundreds of missing and wounded, and thousands of detainees under the risk of
torture. And yet they are still peacefully protesting against one of the most
repressive regimes in the region, but at the same time they are looking to us
here, at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), and hoping that the international
community will help them in their peaceful and legitimate struggle. They are
fully aware that the council cannot return the lives of their fallen loved-ones
but at least can put an end to the use of force and violence by the Security
services, who are immune from accountability according to Syrian law.

Ladies and Gentleman

I will not read here the hundreds of messages and emails I
received yesterday from the people inside Syria when they knew that I would
address your respected council, but I will read an excerpt from one “if the
council doesn’t support the idea of an international inquiry our blood will be
forgotten again”, 30 years after the Asad regime committed the Hama massacre in
1982 we are still talking about the estimated number of people killed there (
some say 20000, others say 25000) after thirty years we still talk about
“estimates” not “exact” numbers, because the regime didn`t take even a single
step to open an investigation, how can we trust or believe now that this regime
will open even an internal credible investigation into the killing of peaceful
protesters since March 18, 2011. The International Community should now take
the responsibility for the Syrian victims who died for requesting their freedom
back, Freedom is the most pronounced word in Syria today but it is also the
most dangerous one, it cost the lives of more than 700 people, 650 of whom were
less than 40 years old.

The Syrian troops have been besieging Daraa for almost five
days. Access to food, water and medical assistance are strictly prevented.
Electricity, means of communication and roads to the city are cut. These
practices amount to collective punishment and constitute a serious threat for
the population which is facing a humanitarian crisis. The official
justification of fighting extremists is a dangerous lure. And even if this were
the case the government shouldn’t stop food and medical supplies from entering
the city thus punishing the whole population of Daraa. Yesterday the son of
member of the Syrian Parliament was crying while he was talking to the B.B.C,
he added “ we only need children`s milk”. It has become obvious that
international crimes are being perpetrated by the Syrian authorities and the
International community urgently needs to wake up to this and act. The gap
between the official stance claiming the adoption of long awaited reforms
including the lift of the state of emergency and the issuing of a law on
peaceful demonstrations, and the systematic and violent repression on the
ground, is more blatant than ever. The Council must strongly condemn the gross
and systematic violation of human rights by the Syrian authorities and urge
them to put an immediate end to the violence. An independent international
commission of inquiry must also be urgently set up in order to investigate all
alleged violations of international human rights law and identify the alleged
perpetrators. Those responsible should be brought to justice. This is the only
way to enable the Syrian people to believe that here is an international
institution set up and able to protect their Human Rights.

Finally, violent crackdown against protesters by the army
and security forces is not a Syrian exception. Bahrain and Yemen are also the
scene of fierce repressions. However Bahraini and Yemeni victims are still
waiting for the consideration of the International Community and the UN Human
Rights council in particular. A selective approach cannot be a sustainable
solution in any case.

Radwan Ziadeh

Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies