Middle East

Russia urged to end arms transfer

Amnesty International has called on the Russian government to cease the transfer of arms to Syria, in a bid to end the country’s escalating violence.

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International has called on the Russian government to cease the transfer of arms to Syria, in a bid to end the country's escalating violence.

The organisation says Russia must comply with UN Security Council recommendations to bring Syria's crimes against humanity to account.

“Amnesty International is baffled at Russia's persistent shielding of the Syrian government from international accountability at the UN Security Council,” said Michael Hayworth, a Crisis Response Campaigner for Amnesty International Australia.

Both the Chinese and Russian governments have already blocked two resolutions calling for tougher action against Syria at the UN Security Council.

“Russia has a special relationship with the Syrian authorities. In fact, Russia is allegedly still sending arms into Syria. This is very concerning given the current crisis that we see.”

Amnesty has published a damning report of the Syrian government's human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary arrests, systematic pattern of torture, the targeting of medical workers, and the wanton destruction of property.

The organisation recently embarked on a research mission to examine country's human rights abuses, despite being banned by the Syrian government. The research team visited 23 towns in northern Syria, interviewing 200 Syrians for first-person accounts of the crisis.

One mother told Amnesty that her three sons were taken by soldiers in March, only to be found shot dead, with their bodies set on fire underneath a pile of motorcycles outside their family home.

In spite of substantial evidence by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty says little is being done to end the violence.

“If nothing happens, then we're going to continue to see the horrific things being documented in our report,” said Mr Hayworth.

“This is absolutely unacceptable, and it's why there's no other option but for the international community to come together, introduce accountability, increase the UN Supervisory Mission and ensure that the flow of arms is stopped to the Syrian government.”

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