*** Open borders for refugees (Turkey, Europe, U.S.)
*** Turkey, Greece Treat All Refugees Humanely
*** Assad and Putin, Stop All Bombing of Idlib
*** Stop the attacks on Kurdish Rojava
*** Release All Political Prisoners
Sarin Gas Attacks and the Besieging of Hundreds of Thousands in Syria
In April British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and a number of anti-war activists and groups held back from condemning Assad forces for the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun. He and others called for an independent UN investigation. He did insist that "those responsible must be held to account".
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons did conduct an independent investigation and found that sarin gas had been used and the UN’s Joint Investigative Mechanism recently released the results of its independent investigation attributing responsibility for the attack to Assad’s forces.
Outrageously instead of the UN moving to punish the guilty parties, a Russian veto has ended the UN's Joint Investigative Mechanism panel that investigates charges of chemical attacks. We call for this decision to be reversed immediately.
We call on all those who held back from condemning Assad forces for the April sarin attack to speak out now. We call on those who doubted Assad responsibility for the over one thousand dead in the 2013 sarin attack to reevaluate their position.
Siege Watch reports that as of this summer 800,000 remained under siege and bombing in Syria, half in Eastern Ghouta. UN relief is routinely and illegally denied. We call for a constant attention to this in the Left media and pressure to get corporate media to report on this awful situation.
We must never give up on Syrians. We deny that solidarity efforts with Syrians make Western intervention more possible. We must support civilian rights and welfare in Syria.
RAISE YOUR VOICE FOR SYRIA'S DETAINED AND DISAPPEARED!
Tens of thousands of Syrians are disappeared. While armed groups have also captured and detained civilians, the Assad regime is responsible for the overwhelming majority of detentions, and there is no shortage of evidence on the terrible suffering of those imprisoned by the regime. Responsibility for this tragedy also lies with the parties negotiating Syria's future in Geneva and Astana, where voices from the democratic opposition are excluded, and with the larger international community, the member states of the United Nations, for failing to exert pressure on behalf of the detainees. In Assad's dungeons, which Amnesty International has characterized as extermination camps, detainees, among them women and children, are subjected to inhuman conditions, rape, torture and death. For the families of the disappeared, the uncertainty is also torture. It is unconscionable that the world remain silent in the face of these terrible crimes.
Silence is betrayal.
We will not participate in this betrayal.
We declare our solidarity with Syria's detainees and disappeared both on principle and in recognition that the brutal repression of a democratic struggle by the Assad regime sows the seeds of violent extremism. We urge all anti-war, human rights and progressive activists to consider the August 2, 2017 letter to Mr. Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, by 169 Syrian civil society groups:
"Syrian civil society activities are essential in the fight against extremism. Moderate voices – as we represent – have the power to push back against the extremist forces and fill the vacuum on the ground. But to be able to do so, we need the international community to protect our ability to assist and serve our people."
The alternative to the never-ending bloody farce of the War on Terror, as carried out by all state actors, from the US to Russia, from Israel to Iran and the Assad regime, and to violent sectarian terrorism, is unconditional solidarity with the struggles for human rights and democracy.
We consider neglect of the demands raised by the 169 Syrian Civil Society Organizations in regards to detainees to be inexcusable:
"Ensure that concrete progress on humanitarian access, the detainee file and forced displacement is at the heart of the Geneva negotiations. In particular, we call on you [Staffan de Mistura} to fulfil your mandate and ensure progress on the detainee file including by securing (i) a comprehensive plan for the release of detainees beyond small-scale prisoner exchanges; (ii) information about the fates of all Syrians forcibly disappeared; (iii) access by international monitors to all detention facilities; and (iv) a halt to execution orders, particularly in regime security and military facilities, as well as in those run by armed groups."
The Assad regime has refused to even entertain the possibility of granting access for international monitors to Syrian detention centers, and we must conclude the regime's denial is confirmation of systematic gross violations of human rights.
Given the failure of the negotiating parties and of the international community to act on behalf of the detained and disappeared, we raise our voices in solidarity with the forsaken and with their families.
Recently five brave Syrian women, some former detainees themselves, who represented the grass-roots organization Families for Freedom, organized a vigil at the fourth round of the Geneva talks and presented a list of demands on the international community to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (http://wilpf.org/…/statement-on-the-human-rights-situation…/).
We the undersigned support these demands:
"1) the Syrian government and all warring parties to immediately release a list of names of all detainees, along with their current location and status, and to immediately stop torture. In the case of death of a detainee, a death certificate along with a report on causes of death and burial location must be presented to the families.
2) the Syrian government to allow international humanitarian organizations to immediately deliver food and medical aid, and to grant access to international rights groups into detention facilities for a thorough monitoring of living conditions in order to guarantee that civil detention facilities meet healthy living standards.
3) the Syrian government to abolish exceptional courts, especially field, war and counter-terrorism courts and guarantee fair trials."
We the undersigned support the demands raised by Families for Freedom because they are fundamental to the human rights of the detained and their families. We do not consider these demands to be exhaustive. We stand for the release of all political prisoners and for justice for those tortured and murdered by the regime, or by armed groups.
An injury to one is an injury to all. We stand in solidarity
Click here to see over 130 groups and individual signers
adopted by RPM 10/24/17
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