Business Day: SA should condemn Syrian human rights abuse

A delegation of Syrian human rights, civil society and political activists call on the South African government to condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators and to support the human rights of civilians.

“Since the beginning of the peaceful demonstrations in Syria on March 15 this year, 1350 civilians have been killed. An estimated 15000 civilians have been detained, tortured or have disappeared and more than 12000 refugees have fled the country,” Christina Abraham, Civil Rights director at CAIR-Chicago, told the media in Johannesburg today.

She added that research by the Human Rights Watch indicates that the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, despite what the Syrian authorities report.

The delegation says that so far SA has opposed efforts at the Security Council to try and resolve the abuses by Syrian government.

“Given its increasing weight on the international scene, SA faces a particular responsibility to issue a clear condemnation of the gross human rights abuses taking place in Syria and to support the UN Security Council draft resolution denouncing the violence,” the delegation said.

Najib Maleh says that at the moment that are able to immediately document any case of killing.

“So when we say 1350, we have the names and we sometimes have YouTube videos of those cases,” he explained.

Yassar Tabbara, attorney and activist, says that there is an agreement among Syrians that they do not want any military intervention from any country in Syria.

The delegation says that like the Egyptian and Tunisian people, Syrians are determined to push for civil liberties at home.

“According to the activists, the Syrian people‚Äôs objective is to establish a civic, pluralistic democratic state in Syria on equal citizenship and the rule of law,” the delegation said.

Maleh says the delegation had a very successful meeting with members of the ANC and he feels there was a positive reception to their issues.

copyright 2011 Business Day