UN Security Council Must Take Strong and Immediate Action in Light of Failed Arab League Mission

(Washington, DC) – United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews released the following statement  in anticipation of today’s expected report from the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria and called on the international community to take robust action to prevent further atrocities:
“The Arab League monitoring mission to Syria was doomed from the start. Not only were the Syrian government forces going to do everything in their power to prevent full access, but the leader of the Arab League mission lacks any and all credibility on human rights. In an appalling example of the fox guarding the hen house, Sudan’s General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi – who stands accused of perpetrating atrocities in his own country – was chosen to lead the monitoring mission to Syria. This selection sent the message that the Arab League was not serious about ending the violence. “The fact that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad significantly increased attacks against civilians during the deployment of the Arab League monitoring mission demonstrates that the regime believes it can act with impunity. The Arab League’s next step must be to follow through on the sanctions that it promised to implement and to appeal to the UN Security Council to take further action. “The Arab League has failed to have a positive impact on the escalation of violence. Instead, the monitoring mission enabled the Assad regime to buy itself more time at the expense of hundreds of civilian casualties. The United States and international community have an urgent responsibility to encourage robust action from all Arab League member states. Further, the United States and other members of the United Nations Security Council must act immediately to condemn Syria, impose tough sanctions on the Syrian regime, refer the situation to the International Criminal Court, and enact an arms embargo. “In light of its failed mission, the Arab League should be called upon to support these steps and help to pressure Russia and Iran that have directly enabled the Assad regime to kill civilians.  Russia continues its threats to veto any significant action by the United Nations Security Council, even as it sells weapons to the regime. Russia has blood on its hands, and the world community must insist Russia end its support of Syria’s atrocities by standing aside at the Security Council.” Background: The Syrian government and its forces have been accused of attacks against civilians since a series of protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in March of 2011. Since that time, there have been widespread reports that snipers and heavy artillery have been intentionally used to kill civilians. As of the December, the United Nations estimated that at least 5,000 have been killed. It is also reported that tens of thousands have been arrested and thousands more have disappeared. The Arab League observer mission arrived in Syria on December 26. Over the past several weeks, there have been concerns about the mission’s leadership, limited access and its ability to remain independent. As a result, several of the monitors have resigned. According to a top United Nations official, at least 400 people were killed within the first two weeks of the mission’s arrival.

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