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Syria

    March 28, 2013

    Up to 600 Syrian refugees have reportedly been deported by the Turkish authorities in a move that would show a shocking disregard for their safety, Amnesty International said.

    Reports state that those forcibly returned had been accommodated in the Akcakale refugee camp in the Sanliurfa province that borders Syria. Others run the risk of the same treatment.

    "Any forcible return of Syrian refugees would represent a deplorable act in clear violation of international law and Turkey's own laws," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey.

    Reports indicate that the returns occurred following violent protests at the camp.

    ”The Turkish authorities need to ensure that from now on no forcible returns occur and they must effectively investigate forced returns that are alleged to have taken place.

    ”In no circumstances whatsoever should the authorities forcibly return Syrians putting them at risk of persecution and serious human rights violations."

     

    March 26, 2013

    Global pressure must be applied to all parties in the Syrian conflict to abide by international humanitarian and human rights law, Amnesty International said as the League of Arab States gathered in Qatar for a summit and BRICS nations met at a separate event in South Africa.

    The Arab League gathering – where the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has been given Syria’s seat after the suspension of the Syrian government in November 2011 – should see a tough message emerge against abuses perpetrated by armed groups.

    “The opposition must not waver - it has both a duty and an opportunity to denounce abuses carried out by armed opposition groups and stand in line with international humanitarian law - paying lip service to it is not enough” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director.

    March 22, 2013

    Amnesty International called on all parties to the Syrian armed conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and end attacks which target or indiscriminately kill and injure civilians after dozens were killed and injured in an explosion in a Damascus mosque on 21 March 2013.

    Among those reported killed in the mosque was a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric Mohammad al-Bouti, a supporter of President Bashar al-Assad. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The official state news agency, SANA, stated that 49 people were killed when “a suicide terrorist…blew himself up while scholar Dr. Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti was giving a religious lesson at al-Iman Mosque in al-Mazraa area”.

    The head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Moaz al-Khatib, told the AFP news agency that “we categorically condemn the assassination”.

    Amnesty International condemned the bombing and reminded the parties to the conflict that targeting civilians and places of worship are war crimes.

    March 14, 2013

    Two years after Syrians rose in peaceful protest against their government, the country is mired in a bloody conflict with both sides responsible for war crimes, Amnesty International found in two briefings released today.

    Research carried out inside Syria in the last fortnight confirms that government forces continue to bomb civilians indiscriminately often with internationally banned weapons, flattening entire neighbourhoods. Detainees held by these forces are routinely subjected to torture, enforced disappearances or extra-judicial executions.

    Armed opposition groups have increasingly resorted to hostage taking, and to the torture and summary killing of soldiers, pro-government militias and civilians they have captured or abducted.

    “While the vast majority of war crimes and other gross violations continue to be committed by government forces, our research also points to an escalation in abuses by armed opposition groups,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.  

    February 14, 2013

    by Conor Fortune

    Syrian activist Bassam Ahmed Al-Ahmed recalls his time as a detainee alongside his friend, doctor Ayham Mustafa Ghazoul, whose family was recently informed of his death while in the custody of Syrian security forces in November 2012. Both men were among a group of people detained in a raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression on 16 February 2012.

    What more can I say about Ayham than that he was a human being before anything else?

    What was most striking to me about him was that he was so self-sacrificing and strongly believed that every person should give up what’s most precious to them – their work, their studies, or even a lover or family members – for this revolution.

    He was a very peaceful person who would always say, “Don’t carry a weapon, just go protest and if you die, you die a martyr”.

    When they arrested us last February and brought us to the Air Force Intelligence we were all too scared to get off the bus.

    They called out for Mazen Darwish, the director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

    January 18, 2013

    Preventing refugees from entering Jordan to escape the conflict in Syria would increase suffering and could lead to further bloodshed and human rights abuses, Amnesty International said today following the Jordanian Prime Minister’s announcement that the Jordanian authorities would close the border if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government collapses.

    At a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on Thursday, Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour told reporters that his country would not allow the continued entry of refugees into its territory if al-Assad’s government falls or refugee numbers rise significantly, but would seek to keep them inside Syria.

    "At a time when people in Syria may need protection the most, Jordan is effectively threatening to close its borders, further exposing them to harm,” said Charlotte Phillips from Amnesty International’s refugee team.

    “Supporters of the al-Assad government, many from Syria’s minorities, are already facing human rights abuses by armed opposition forces.”

    January 15, 2013

    The UN Security Council must immediately refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with a request made this morning by dozens of UN member states, Amnesty International said.

    In a joint letter to the Council, Switzerland and 56 other states from all continents noted the Syrian authorities’ failure to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since March 2011.

    Since then, according to the letter, “the situation on the ground has only become more desperate, with attacks on the civilian population and the commission of atrocities having become almost the norm”.

    “For almost two years, the Security Council has stood by as crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes after the internal armed conflict began, have been committed with complete impunity against the Syrian people,” said José Luis Díaz, Amnesty International’s UN Representative in New York.

    January 10, 2013

    Any future transitional government in Syria should make the protection of minority groups its top priority, Amnesty International said today as an international conference in the UK planning for the Syrian government’s possible collapse drew to a close.

    Opposition leaders and worldwide Syria experts holding private talks in Sussex for a second day were urged to put human rights at the heart of all planning about the future of the country.

    Minority groups including Alawite Muslims, the community of the al-Assad family, are facing an increased risk of human rights abuses by armed opposition forces.

    "When the conflict eventually ends, a huge task will face those in power and it is vital that whoever is in charge puts human rights at the core of their policies and reforms," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    "Chief among those is ensuring the safety and security of minorities, especially those suspected of supporting the former government."

    There has been a recent rise in sectarian violence in Syria, particularly by those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

    On September 2, 2015, the body of Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy, washed up on a Turkish beach. His body was photographed and the photo circulated worldwide.   In the coming weeks, a media blitz on the refugee crisis took the world by storm. Everyone was talking about the Syrian refugee crisis - what could be done, how individuals and governments could help, how the world could have turned a blind eye for so long.   But in the wake of all that coverage, what has changed? Did the media make a difference? Have we finally begun to give the biggest refugee situation since World War II the attention it deserves?   PeaceGeeks, Amnesty International and Hootsuite present PeaceTalks #29: Refugee Crisis and Media Hype, a discussion of the refugee crisis and what can be done to affect real change.   Speakers include:   - Caroline Dailly, Manager at Immigrant Services Society of BC - Zool Suleman, Immigration Lawyer & Policy Consultant

    #RefugeesWelcomeHere is pleased to join in presenting A Syrian Love Story in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa

    Join Cinema Politica for the Ottawa premiere of A Syrian Love Story, the poignant story of comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda and their incredible odyssey to political freedom. Director Sean McAllister and film protagonist Amer Daoud will be in attendance! Click to watch the trailer here:

    https://youtu.be/30JqnWtLvlU.

    A SYRIAN LOVE STORY

    Sean McAllister / United Kingdom / 2015 / 90 ' / Arabic / S.T. English

    Comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago.

    When McAllister first meets their family in 2009, Raghda is back in prison leaving Amer to look after their 4 boys alone; but as the ‘Arab Spring’ sweeps the region, the family’s fate shifts irrevocably. Filmed over 5 years, the film charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom. For Raghda and Amer, it is a journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.

    Saturday April 30th 12:30-1:30pm
    Parliament Hill 
    Ottawa

    At the end of April  2016, the family of Syrian human rights defender and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh will mark another birthday without her. Instead of celebrating, they are demanding justice and working to ensure that the cases of thousands of “disappeared” people are not forgotten as the Syrian conflict grinds into its sixth year with no end in sight.

    On December 9, 2013, Razan, her husband Wael Hamada and their colleagues Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi – collectively known as the “Duma Four” – were abducted during a raid by a group of armed men on the offices of the VDC in Duma, near Damascus. They have not been seen since.

    Join us on Parliament Hill where we will gather and read out message of solidarity and birthday greetings.

    #RefugeesWelcomeHere is pleased to join in presenting A Syrian Love Story in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa

    Join Cinema Politica for the Montreal premiere of A Syrian Love Story, the poignant story of comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda and their incredible odyssey to political freedom. Director Sean McAllister and film protagonist Amer Daoud will be in attendance! Click to watch the trailer here:

    https://youtu.be/30JqnWtLvlU.

    A SYRIAN LOVE STORY

    Sean McAllister / United Kingdom / 2015 / 90 ' / Arabic / S.T. English

    Comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago.

    When McAllister first meets their family in 2009, Raghda is back in prison leaving Amer to look after their 4 boys alone; but as the ‘Arab Spring’ sweeps the region, the family’s fate shifts irrevocably. Filmed over 5 years, the film charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom. For Raghda and Amer, it is a journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.

    #‎RefugeesWelcomeHere is pleased to join in presenting A Syrian Love Story in Montreal, Toronto & Ottawa

    Join Cinema Politica for the Toronto premiere of A Syrian Love Story, the poignant story of comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda and their incredible odyssey to political freedom. Director Sean McAllister and film protagonist Amer Daoud will be in attendance! Click to watch the trailer here https://youtu.be/30JqnWtLvlU.

    A SYRIAN LOVE STORY

    Sean McAllister / United Kingdom / 2015 / 90 ' / Arabic / S.T. English

    Comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago.

    When McAllister first meets their family in 2009, Raghda is back in prison leaving Amer to look after their 4 boys alone; but as the ‘Arab Spring’ sweeps the region, the family’s fate shifts irrevocably. Filmed over 5 years, the film charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom. For Raghda and Amer, it is a journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeveAmnesty

     

    CANADA: WELCOME
    SYRIAN REFUGEES

    Canada’s commitment to resettling refugees has been modest and processing rates painfully slow. Remind the Prime Minister and all party leaders that Canadians welcome refugees.

    TAKE ACTION NOW DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE DESTRUCTION IN RAQQA, SYRIA

    In June 2017 a US-led coalition launched a mission to push the 'Islamic State' out of Raqqa, Syria. Instead of targeting 'Islamic State' fighters they killed hundreds of civilians, and injured thousands more.

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