Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do you notice that Human Rights Watch's press releases about human rights abuses by Syrian armed groups read more like friendly reminders?

"Syria’s newly created opposition front should send a clear message to opposition fighters that they must adhere to the laws of war and human rights law, and that violators will be held accountable, Human Rights Watch said today. Countries financing or supplying arms to opposition groups should send a strong signal to the opposition that they expect it to comply strictly with international human rights and humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said.

Syrian opposition factions signed an agreement in Qatar on November 11, 2012, to create a new umbrella grouping, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (the National Coalition). The unity accord states that the National Coalition “supports the unification of the revolutionary military councils under the leadership of a supreme military council,” will establish a “national judicial commission,” and will “form a provincial government after gaining international recognition.” The accord will come into force once it has been ratified by its members.

“Ending abuses by armed members of the opposition should be a top priority for the new coalition,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “It should make a public commitment to uphold international norms, vet armed groups for violations before providing them support, and hold violators to account.”" (thanks Nadim)