SYRIA: MAKE HUMAN RIGHTS THE PRIORITY OF GENEVA TALKS

ENDING UNLAWFUL ATTACKS, ACCESS TO AID, DETAINEE RIGHTS, JUSTICE & THE SECURITY SECTOR REFORM

HUMAN RIGHTS THE PRIORITY

(Geneva, February 21, 2017) – Participants in the February 23, 2017 United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva should prioritize five key human rights issues during negotiations, 40 human rights and other organizations said today. The priorities are to end unlawful attacks, ensure aid access and safe passage for fleeing civilians, detainee rights, justice, and security sector reform.
 
Achieving respect and promotion for human rights during any transition and post-conflict will require key legislative and constitutional amendments to enshrine rights protection in law, the groups said. This should include a constitutional amendment that states that all ratified international treaties and law are binding in Syria. The transformation of Syria into a state that respects human rights and upholds the rule of law should be a Syrian- led process, with transparent reform following local consultations.
 
Ensuring justice and accountability is an essential component for the success and sustainability of any peace plans on Syria,” said Michel Tubiana, President of EuroMed Rights. “Cooperation with Syrian human rights organizations and defenders is vital towards ensuring justice for the victims and to future domestic and international accountability processes”
Other countries attending the United Nations-led meetings in Geneva should use their influence over the warring Syrian factions to ensure that the basic human rights of Syrians are on the agenda.
 
The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has explained that the agenda at the talks will mirror the objectives outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 from December 2015. In the resolution, the Security Council expressed its support for establishing inclusive and non-sectarian governance, the drafting of a new constitution, and free and fair elections. It emphasized the need for “a ceasefire monitoring, verification and reporting mechanism,” called on the parties to facilitate the unhindered delivery of aid and the release of anyone held arbitrarily, and demanded an end to attacks on civilians and civilian objects and the indiscriminate use of weapons.

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