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2017 | Amnesty International, Syria - Make Human Rights Priority of Geneva Talks

In February 2017, at the UN-sponsored peace talks, Amnesty International and 40 other organizations, in a joint statement, reaffirmed the necessity to highlight five particular human rights issues. These key issues, namely the end of unlawful attacks, the insurance of aid access and safe passage for fleeing civilians, the protection of detainee rights, the fight for justice and the reform of the security sector, are then further developed.

First it is stressed that all the parties to the conflict should respect international humanitarian laws and immediately stop indiscriminate and other unlawful attacks.

They should also facilitate rapid and unimpeded aid to all civilians in need and allow them to freely leave besieged areas, as requested by the multiple resolutions passed.

The December 21, 2016 UNGA resolution establishes a mechanism to investigate serious crimes committed in Syria since 2011. This investigation unit as well as other documentation efforts, including the UN Commission of Inquiry, represent essential steps for future accountability. Thus all the parties to the conflict should be committed to cooperate, and all international actors, more generally, should support these instruments and continue, in the different forums, their fight for justice.

Moreover the signatory organizations advocate for the creation of an 'independent commission to review cases of those detained, monitor their treatment in detention and ensure their release', and they emphasize the need for fair prosecution of the security forces in any transitional plan.

Also Syrian law should guarantee all the basic international law protections and safeguards for detainees. Moreover real reforms of the security sector and of the laws criminalizing the right to peaceful expression, assembly, and association, including the July 2012 counterterrorism law, are necessary.