Statement by Peace Action Calling for a Halt to the Military Violence and
Human Rights Violations in Syria
March 6, 2012
Peace Action deeply deplores the military action taken by Syria’s armed forces to violently suppress opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. This military action is largely responsible for the deaths of thousands of Syrians – with estimates ranging as high as 7,500 deaths – mostly of civilians. In the midst of this violence, an estimated 70,000 Syrians have been displaced from their homes and over 20,000 have become international refugees.
The Syrian government’s brutality was justly condemned by the UN General Assembly on February 16, 2012, in a resolution that was supported by 137 of 149 nations voting. Peace Action also applauds the overwhelming vote by the UN Human Rights Council on March 1, 2012 to condemn “the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities” and the action by the UN Security Council that calls on the Syrian government to allow “immediate, full and unimpeded” humanitarian access to its country.
Peace Action supports the recently-announced UN plan for a mediation process in Syria that includes all political factions. According to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan – the newly appointed special envoy for Syria on behalf of the United Nations and the Arab League – this plan is supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, Peace Action warns against precipitous military intervention in Syria by foreign powers. “Unfortunately,” notes Kevin Martin, Peace Action executive director, “we have seen how violence has escalated when other nations intervened militarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even when the United Nations authorized the use of force in Libya under its `responsibility to protect’ policy, outside powers overstepped the boundaries of the UN authorization and created a broader military conflict.”
Peace Action also calls attention to the fact that, as the Syrian situation demonstrates, when a nation maintains substantial armed forces, it not only threatens the security of other nations, but the human rights and lives of its own citizens. This threat provides yet another reason for reducing the massive international arms trade.
Peace Action believes that the people of the world would have greater security and freedom in a demilitarized world.
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace-Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika