Joint NGO Statement
February 23, 2012

We the undersigned, representing 144 international and Arab NGOs from over 20 countries, call on the “Friends of Syria” conference, to be held on February 24thin Tunis, to seek an international strategy to end the human rights violations in Syria. As fears of civil war grow, the “Friends of Syria” should exercise pressure on all groups responsible for the unlawful use of force against civilians to cease such acts of violence immediately.  All groups should respect human rights and guard against sectarian violence.

We call on the “Friends of Syria” conference to formulate an international consensus on the Syrian crisis in support of ending human rights abuses and international crimes based on Arab League Resolution 7446 and UN General Assembly Resolution 11207. In particular, we urge the conference to:

1. Reiterate a unanimous call on the Syrian authorities to commit to the December 19 protocol agreement signed with the League of Arab States to immediately release all detainees held from the beginning of the uprising to the present day, including human rights defenders, end the use of torture and forced disappearances, stop all forms of violence regardless of their source in all cities and residential areas, guarantee peaceful protests are not attacked by Syrian security forces.

2. Fully enforce and monitor the implementation of targeted sanctions on the Syrian authorities wherever they have been adopted and ensure other countries also adopt and enforce similar sanctions against the authorities and those implicated in human rights abuses and international crimes including through an arms embargo.

3. Urge the Syrian government and armed groups to facilitate the delivery of independent and impartial emergency aid proportionate to needs, ensure the evacuation of injured people in places under fire, and call for effective access for humanitarian organizations, as well as journalists, and human rights advocates to monitor the situation on the ground. Particular attention should be directed to safe access to civil hospitals and adequate delivery of medical care in accordance with international law.

4. Press for Accountability for crimes against humanity including through UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court.

While we highly appreciate the intense efforts already under way to address the Syrian crisis, we believe that the conference in Tunisia must pave the way for a more robust international consensus that can pave the way for effective UN Security Council action.

Syrians have paid too heavy a price. We implore you to ensure your conference is a step towards ending further abuses and crimes.

Signatories:

International Organizations: Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Global Center for Responsibility to Protect, Reporters without Borders, medico international , International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).

Egypt: Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Arab Forum for Alternatives, The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA), Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP) , Arab Foundation for Civil Society and Human Rights Support, Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Annie Centre for Human Rights and Development, Civil Observatory for Human Rights, Citizenship  Human Rights Organization (CHRO), Shumuu (Candles) for Human Rights, Egyptian Association for Scientific and Technological Development, Egyptian Foundation for Refugees Rights (EFRR), The Arabic Center for Development and Human Rights, South Center for Human Rights, The Arabic Media Crisis Network, Center for Alternative Study & Development Programs, Taha Hussein Foundation for Civic Education, Sudan Children Association, Egyptian Center for innovation and development, Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights, Bader Foundation for Social Development and Peace, Freedom Center for Political Studies and Human Rights, Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, Egyptian Foundation for Advancement of the Childhood Condition, New Woman Foundation

Sudan: Al-khatim Adlan Center Enlightenment and Human Development, Sudan Development Association SDA, Civil Observatory for Human Rights, Darfur Democratic Platform, Amal Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of violence, Sobat Center for Peace and Capacity Building, Solidarity trade union, Center for the Study of Human Development – Fanar, Global Center for Culture of Peace, Africa Centre for Human Rights, Darfur’s Lawyers Association, Darfur Center for Promoting Peace, Darfur Media & Press Association, Dwana Organization for Human Development, CDA Community Development Association, Women for cultural and social Development Association, Arbab Cultural Center, Sara Fadil Organization for Peace and Development, Sudanese Writers Union.

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights First Society

Yemen: Social Democratic Forum, Human Rights Information and Training Center, Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights, Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms, Media Women Forum, Community Development Foundation, Political Development Forum, The National Commission for the Defense of Freedoms (Hood), National Organization for Community Development, Partners Foundation for Future Development.

Morocco: Forum alternatives - Morocco, Democratic Organization of work in Morocco, National Association of unemployed graduates in Morocco, , Moroccan Organization for Human Rights Education, Badail Forum – Juosour, Development Association, Union of Youth of the Future, Nibrass Community Assocation, Centre for Human Rights Education, Center of people's Rights, Lead Foundation, Moroccan Organization for Human Rights

Bahrain: Bahrain Youth Forums Society, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrian Human Rights Society, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights

Mauritania: Northern League for Development of Democracy and Human Rights, National Commission for Human Rights in Mauritania, Arab Organization for Human Rights / Branch Mauritania, Mauritanian Association for the Protection of Democracy (Protection), Mauritanian Association for the Promotion of Human Rights

Jordan: Observatory for Human Rights and Environment, Equality Center for Democratic Studies and Research, Justice Center for Human Rights Studies, Center for Civic Collaboration

Libya: Lawyers for Justice in Libya

Lebanon: Permanent Peace Movement, Lebanese Transparency Association, Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Monitor- Based In Lebanon)

Palestine: Human Rights & Democracy Media Center (Shams), Conscience Foundation for Detainees Affairs, Union of Palestinian Women's Committees,

Tunisia: National Council for Liberties, Observatory of the Tunisian trade union rights and freedoms, Tunisian Organization for Democratic women

Qatar: National Human Rights Committee, Dr. Najeeb Alnauimi – Ex-Minister of Justice

Kuwait: Kuwait Organization for Human Rights, Citizens against Corruption

Algeria: The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Algerian Coordination for the Families of the missing

UAE: Emirates organization for Human Rights

Iraq: Iraqi Network for Human Rights, Iraqi organization for Human Rights - Denmark

Regional: Arab Coalition for Darfur (102 organisations), Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Adopt Revolution

Total Number of organisations (accounting for coalitions): 144 

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