Amnesty accuses Security Council of leadership failure | News | DW | 24.05.2012
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Amnesty accuses Security Council of leadership failure

In its most recent annual report, Amnesty International has accused the global community of failing to act against human rights abuses, singling out the UN Security Council for being motivated by economic interests.

Amnesty International accused the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday of failing to show leadership in the face of global upheaval, putting economic interests ahead of human rights.

In its 50th annual report on the state of human rights in the world, Amnesty pointed to the 14-month long crisis in Syria as a demonstration of the Council's unwillingness to act, making the body look "redundant as a guardian of global peace."

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Amnesty International publishes annual report

The report said there was a "clear and compelling case" for the regime of Bashar al-Assad to be referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes.

The UN estimates that at least 9,000 people have died in Syria since a peaceful uprising in March 2011 descended into violence in the face of a government crackdown.

"You've had people standing up, putting their lives on the line," Amnesty's secretary general, Salil Shetty, told the news agency AFP.

"Unfortunately that has been met by a complete failed leadership both at the national and international level," he added.

Amnesty singled out Russia and China for twice vetoing stronger Security Council resolutions aimed at ending the violence in Syria.

"The determination of some UN Security Council members to shield Syria at any cost leaves accountability for these crimes elusive and is a betrayal of the Syrian people," Shetty said.

The report also accused of rising powers such as India, Brazil and South Africa of being "complicit through their silence."

Arms trade treaty

Moscow is a major arms supplier for the Assad regime. Amnesty accused major powers such as China and Russia of wielding their veto to further their economic self-interest.

"Two countries that are among the six top arms dealers in the world, who are permanent members of the Security Council, may have been voting much more with their pocket in mind," said Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty.

The report said that an upcoming conference on a global treaty to limit the arms trade would be "an acid test for politicians to place rights over self-interest and profit."

The conference is set for July 2-27 in New York City, following an agreement in 2009 in which the world's major arms exporters - including the United States - sought to strengthen arms controls. The five permanent Security Council members - the US, UK, France, China and Russia - control 70 percent of the global arms trade, according to Amnesty.

"Without a strong treaty, the UN Security Council's guardianship of global peace and security seems doomed to failure; its permanent members wielding an absolute veto on any resolution despite being the world's largest arms suppliers," the report said.

slk/mz (Reuters, AFP)

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