Your Excellency, Dr. Nabil El Araby
Secretary General, League of Arab States
We the undersigned, representing 120 Arab and International NGOs from 22 countries including 18 Arab countries, urge the League of Arab States to put words into action by effectively implementing its targeted sanctions on the Syrian regime.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has established an independent international commission of inquiry on Syria. Its report documents consistent policies of indiscriminate shooting at unarmed protesters, thousands of disappearances and widespread torture, including sexual abuse on children. The substantial body of evidence indicates these crimes against humanity have been committed by Syrian security and military forces, killing more than 5,000 civilians as of December 12, 2011 according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - which includes more than 300 children.
Consequently, the League has decided to enforce targeted sanctions against the Syrian regime following Syria’s refusal to commit to the Arab League roadmap to end the brutal crackdown on unarmed Syrian civilians.
However, we believe it is imperative that such sanctions target the regime’s crackdown in a manner that is effective rather than counterproductive.
Therefore, we the undersigned urge the League of Arab States to set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure full, immediate and proper compliance of all concerned parties with sanctions. In order to achieve an effective monitoring mechanism we call on the League to consider the following recommendations:
1. The League of Arab States should form a panel of experts to monitor and report to the Technical Expert Committee on:
(i) The effective enforcement of sanctions by all member states that have agreed on sanctions,
(ii) The impact of the sanctions on reducing human rights abuses, and
(iii) The impact of the sanctions on the civilian population.
Non-compliance should be documented and exposed. A list of companies identified to be closest to the Syrian regime should be made public. The League should form the monitoring body in consultation with bodies with technical expertise such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The impact on the civilian population must be monitored and reported on at all levels, and suggestions offered to mitigate such impact.
2. Each individual Arab Government should report on the implementation of the sanctions it has approved. There should be regular reports from commercial banks to the respective Central Banks and Governments.
3. The League of Arab States should set clear criteria for exceptions and make those criteria public. They should feature a precise and extensive list of goods and services which are necessary for the civilian population, whose humanitarian situation must not be aggravated by sanctions.
If the League of Arab States wants to effectively take advantage of the strong statements it has made, it must act swiftly and decisively to monitor its targeted sanctions. Arab leadership is more needed than ever in the face of a political and humanitarian crisis that could have disastrous consequences for the future stability of Syria and its people, as well as for the stability of the Arab world.
- FIDH(Federation Internationale des Droits de l’Homme),
- HRW (Human Rights Watch),
- ICTJ (International Center for Transitional Justice),
- Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (Syria),
- National Organization for Human Rights – Syria
- Arab Committee for freedom of expression - Syria
- Haitham Maleh Foundation For the Defense of Syrian Human Rights Defenders - Syria
- Algerian League for Human Rights (Algeria),
- Arab Forum for Alternatives (Egypt)
- Arab Program for Human Rights Activists - APHRA (Egypt),
- Arab Network for Human Rights – ANHRI (Egypt),
- Arab Centre for Independent Judiciary and Legal Practice (Egypt),
- Human Rights First Society (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia),
- Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (Bahrain)
- Al Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (Bahrain)
- Sudan Development Association (Sudan)
- Al Khatim Centre for Enlightenment & Human Development - KACE (Sudan)
- Social Democratic Forum (Yemen),
- Shams Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Information (Palestine)
- The Palestinian Organisation for monitoring Human Rights - RASD (Palestine)
- Arab Coalition for Darfur (102 organisations) – Regional
- Arab Media Crisis Network (includes 20 members) – Regional