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Joint call by Civil Society to the United Nations Security Council: Urgent action needed to provide protection to civilians in Syria and to ensure accountability

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 19 December 2011
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Joint call by Civil Society to the United Nations Security Council: Urgent action needed to provide protection to civilians in Syria and to ensure accountability, 19 December 2011, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
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Last Update 19 December 2011

While the undersigned organizations recognize the draft resolution condemning Syria currently being discussed by the Security Council, the current text does not adequately address the severity of the situation on the ground and fails to support international accountability for crimes committed by the government ofSyria. The undersigned civil society organizations from around the world call on the United Nations (UN) Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to adopt a resolution ensuring protection for victims of human rights violations in Syria and accountability for potential crimes, including crimes against humanity, committed by the Syrian authorities.

In particular, we call on the Security Council to pass a resolution that will:

  • Condemn and call for an immediate end to all attacks against civilians, including within the context of peaceful protests;

  • Demand that the Syrian authorities abide by the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions, and the efforts of the League of Arab States (LAS) to end all acts of violence, release all political prisoners, remove the military from civilian populated areas, and grant access to independent observers and international media;

  • Immediately refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for potential crimes against humanity, as highlighted in the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria presented on to the Human Rights Council on 2 December, which documented widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed by the Syrian government;

  • Demand the immediate cooperation of Syria with the LAS, as well as relevant humanitarian organizations, including granting them full access to its territory;

  • Require states to suspend all military sales and assistance to Syria, as there is a clear risk that they will be used in the commission of serious human rights violations;

  • Urge action by all relevant United Nations bodies to ensure the protection of Syrian refugees residing outside of Syria and provide for their humanitarian needs.

Since the beginning of protests in Syria, almost 5,000 individuals have been killed in addition to thousands arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared. The use of torture is rampant and widespread. Cities such as Homs, Deraa, Hama, Idlib and Deir El-Zour remain under complete military siege.

In this context, we are deeply troubled by the continuous failure of the UN Security Council to effectively act on the matter. Since last October, when the Security Council failed to adopt a strong resolution to support efforts to ensure international accountability by the Syrian government for potential crimes against humanity as a result of a veto by Russia and China, and abstentions by South Africa, India, Brazil, and Lebanon, more than 2,500 more civilians have died in addition to thousands arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared. Unlike what is reflected in the current draft resolution, this period has also marked the failure of the Road Map initiated by LAS to end the bloodshed. The long negotiation process between LAS and the Syrian authorities ended with several obstacles imposed by the Syrian regime that make it highly unlikely that the mission of observers to Syria will take place. This is in addition to the holding of three Special Sessions at the UN Human Rights Council and the establishment of two UN independent inquiry commissions – both denied entry into Syria – which reported the likelihood of crimes against humanity being committed by the Syrian government.

We call on those states that have thus far opposed or failed to fully back international accountability for these crimes to now support efforts by the UN Security Council to ensure such accountability and provide protection to victims of human rights violations in Syria. How many more thousands must fall victim to the Syrian regime before the international community takes action to fulfill its responsibilities?


  • African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
  • African Democracy Forum (ADF)
  • Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights
  • AlKarama, Switzerland
  • Al-Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment & Human Development, Sudan
  • Arab Coalition for Darfur
  • Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
  • Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  • Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), Hong Kong
  • Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Egypt
  • Assyrian Human Rights Network
  • Bahrain Center for Human Rights BCHR
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  • Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie
  • Committees for the Defense of Democracy Freedom and Human Rights, Syria
  • Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
  • Conference of Syrian Kurdish Youths Abroad
  • Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)
  • The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
  • Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
  • Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)
  • Franciscans International, Switzerland
  • Habi Center for Environmental Rights, Egypt
  • Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Egypt
  • Human Rights Organization in Syria(MAF)
  • Instance Marocaine des Droits Humains
  • International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
  • International Services for Human Rights (ISHR)
  • Iraqi Human Rights Organization, Denmark
  • Joint Committee for Migrants in Korea, South Korea
  • Journalists for Human Rights, Sudan
  • Justice for Peace Foundation (JPF), Thailand
  • Korean House for International Solidarity, South Korea
  • Kurdish Committee for Human Rights-Rased, Syria
  • Kurdish organization for the defense of human rights and public freedom in Syria (DAD)
  • Kurdish Youth Union in Syria
  • Lawyers for Justice in Libya
  • LBH Masyarakat (Community Legal Aid Institute), Indonesia
  • Les Democrates Syriens
  • National Organization for Human Rights, Syria
  • Network for Global Activism, South Korea
  • Palestinian Human Rights Organization, Lebanon
  • SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights, South Korea
  • Shabab: Youth Center for Cultural Change, Sudan
  • Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights, Yemen
  • Sudan Social Development Organization
  • The Arab Organization for Human Rights, Syria
  • The May 18 Memorial Foundation, South Korea
  • MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society, South Korea
  • Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights
  • West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN)
  • Yemeni Center for Transitional Justice
  • World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
  • Interregional non-governmental organization "Committee Against Torture," Russia
  • Human Rights First Society, Saudi Arabia
  • Emirates Center for Human Rights
  • The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations Committed by the Moroccan State, Western Sahara
  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms
  • International Federation for Human Rights

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