Brussels – March 12-13, 2019: The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), in cooperation with several other Syrian organizations, jointly organized two events on the sidelines of the recent Brussels III Donor Conference, demonstrating the essential nature of the contribution of organizations active in this field to Syrian civil society, with speakers presenting a range of ideas and making various recommendations.
The first event, entitled “Rewarding War Crimes: The Hidden Price Tag of Business in Syria”, which was held at the International Press Center, was jointly organized by SNHR, the Syrian Legal Development Programme, and Baytna Syria. Distinguished speakers at the event included Ibrahim Olabi, Founder of the Syrian Legal Development Programme, along with Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Assaad al Achi, the Executive Director of Baytna Syria, Emma Beals, an independent investigative journalist and researcher, and Wayne Jordash, barrister and managing partner at Global Rights Compliance. The event was also attended by a number of researchers, journalists, politicians and representatives of Syrian civil society organizations.
In his speech at the event, SNHR Chairman Fadel Abdul Ghany spoke about the extent, continuity and accumulation of the violations perpetrated in Syria, pointing out that in many cases these constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. The SNHR founder explained that the Syrian regime would not have been able to perpetrate such a vast number of crimes without the availability of massive funding for the regime to support its military machine and pay for an enormous arsenal of munitions, as well as for the salaries of regular fighters and local militias. Abdul Ghany further noted out that the Syrian regime has received the largest proportion of this funding from the State of Iran, as well as from wealthy Syrian business-owners loyal to the regime who have used their companies mainly in support of these violations, playing a role similar to that of those directly responsible for perpetrating the violations. The SNHR chief revealed that individuals and companies from outside Syria are engaged in efforts to help the Syrian regime, and stressed that the SNHR is trying to expose the actions of these individuals and the companies that they own, both inside and outside Syria, stressing that this type of documentation is a difficult and complex process. Finally, Mr. Abdul Ghany emphasized that no-one wants the sanctions merely for the sake of imposing sanctions, but rather to deter the Syrian regime and its allies from committing further violations, and to weaken it to a degree where it will be forced to accept participation in a political process that contributes to transferring Syria from hereditary rule to a democratic pluralist system of governance.