Freedom House Calls for Stronger International Action on Syria
The massacre of 116 people in Houla, Syria over the weekend is a clear indication that the Annan plan has failed. Freedom House calls for stronger international action, including by the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to intervene and prevent further atrocities against the Syrian people. We applaud the governments of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States, for their decision to expel Syrian ambassadors residing in their countries.
The expulsion of Syrian envoys was announced in the wake of a massacre by forces loyal to the Assad regime, which received widespread international condemnation, including by Assad’s supporters. UN observers estimate that those killed in Houla included 49 children and 34 women, and many of the victims were shot at close range, execution style. The killings occurred despite the regime’s stated commitment to adhere to a cease fire as part of a peace plan led by UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan. More than 10,000 have died in Syria since the uprising began, including hundreds since the Annan plan went into effect. Moreover, thousands of political prisoners that were to be released as part of the plan remain incarcerated.
“While Freedom House supports the efforts of Kofi Annan to persuade the Syrian government to implement its obligations under his proposed peace plan, Assad’s regime has shown nothing but contempt for these obligations, as demonstrated by the latest massacre,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House “We call upon the Security Council to acknowledge that the Annan peace plan has failed and to shoulder its responsibilities to rescue the people of Syria by passing a resolution to allow intervention to stop more mass slaughter. If Russia and China continue to block such a resolution, then the international community needs to find other ways to stop the bloodshed.”
The UNSC released a condemnatory statement on May 27 that failed to place direct blame on the Assad regime as the main perpetrator of the killings. Russia and China continue to resist any genuine efforts by the Council to intervene.
Freedom House further calls for significantly stronger and more active leadership of the United States in the international effort to bring Assad’s murderous regime to an end and pave the way for a transition to a stable democracy. The U.S. government must expand ties to the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army; coordinate more effectively with allies in the Gulf, in NATO and elsewhere to aid those political and military forces opposing Assad; and actively explore with friends and allies credible military options to close out the Assad regime once and for all.
For more information, visit:
Freedom in the World 2012: Syria
Freedom of the Press 2011: Syria
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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