SYRIAN REGIME ATROCITIES MERIT INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURTS INTERVENTION


(Washington, DC – 4/27/11) — The popular uprising in Syria has escalated in recent days and weeks with the President Bashar Assad’s  increasing use of force to intimidate, disperse and kill anti-government civilian protesters. The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemns the use of violence by the Syrian government and demands intervention by the International Criminal Courts to bring perpetrators of war crimes against civilians to justice.

SEE: “ Syrian Crisis Tests the Mettle of Its Autocratic Ruler” (NY Times)

MPAC commends  President Barack Obama’s statement on Syria, which called the Syrian regime’s moves to lift the emergency law, reshuffle the cabinet and allow for pre-approved organized protests meaningless in light of the continued use of deadly violence against civilian protesters. The White House, State Department and members of Congress should call for Assad to step down as was done with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in addition to calling for war crimes prosecution for those responsible for the violence against civilian demonstrators as has been done  in the case of Col. Muammar Qaddafi.

More than 450 civilians have been killed in the past four weeks in anti-government protests, which includes the more than 120 civilians killed by security forces in just the past three days. Adding to the situation is the denial of medical care to wounded civilians across the country. Meanwhile, Syrian opposition members  met in Istanbul yesterday asking for the international community to pressure Assad to halt the recent brutal crackdowns against demonstrators.

 

SEE: “Editorial: Shameful U.S. Inaction on Syria’s Massacres” (Washington Post)

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, Chairperson of the  Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and a prominent Syrian American, issued the following statement Monday:

“We urge all people of conscience to call their elected officials and ask them to pressure the Syrian government to stop the killing of civilians, protect the demonstrators, provide open access to medical care, allow free access to humanitarian organizations and international media and to expedite serious political and democratic reforms that satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people.”

Media coverage of the protests and subsequent crackdowns has been minimal due to limited access provided to international media outlets. In the face of such brutality against innocent civilians, it is urgent that all people of conscience contact their elected officials to take action on this crisis. We must demand unimpeded access for international media to determine the full extent of human rights violations in Syria and to hold culprits accountable.

ACTION REQUESTED:

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS:

  • Just as President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders called for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan President Col. Muammar Qaddafi, so too must they call for the immediate resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad. His deadly attacks on peaceful demonstrators must be condemned by the U.S., if we truly support democracy and the will of the people.
  • The Syrian government must immediately stop the killing of civilians, protect peaceful demonstrators, provide open access to medical care, allow free access to humanitarian organizations and international media and expedite serious political and democratic reforms that satisfy the aspirations of the Syrian people.

 

Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.

 

[CONTACT: Marium Mohiuddin,              323-258-6722      ,  marium@mpac.org]

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