January 30, 2014


To the Syrian Government

  • Immediately halt demolitions of houses in violation of laws-of-war prohibitions against deliberate or disproportionate attacks on civilian objects, wanton destruction of property, and collective punishment. Urban planning decrees should not be selectively implemented to circumvent laws of war and international human rights law protections;
  • Ensure access to humanitarian assistance, including housing, to all civilians who have lost homes because of demolitions, whether or not lawful;
  • Provide adequate compensation or alternative housing to residents whose homes have been unlawfully demolished;
  • End demolitions of homes for security reasons in areas not threatened by opposition forces without advance notice, consultation, and adequate compensation in accordance with international human rights law;
  • Maintain accurate statistics on property damaged and make that information publicly accessible in a timely fashion;
  • Provide immediate and unhindered access and cooperation to independent observers, journalists, and human rights monitors, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

To the UN Security Council

  • Refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC);
  • Adopt targeted sanctions on Syrian officials credibly shown to be implicated in human rights violations;
  • Require states to suspend all military sales and assistance, including technical training and services, to the Syrian government until Syria ends unlawful attacks against civilians, given the real risk that the weapons and technology will be used in the commission of serious human rights violations;
  • Demand that Syria cooperate fully with the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

To All Countries

Given the failure of the Security Council to take measures intended to press the Syrian government to end the unlawful killing of civilians and destruction of civilian property, concerned governments should act, individually and collectively, to:

  • Publicly condemn unlawful demolitions that violate international humanitarian law;
  • Implement embargoes on the sale and supply of arms, ammunition and materiel to the Syrian government;
  • Increase pressure on Russia and China to stop hampering effective UN Security Council action on Syria.