Week-ending 2 April 2021
“Russian state media does not report on the victims of bombardments, nor the forced displacement of civilians resulting in part from Russia’s military actions in Syria. As a result, the Russian public does not have sufficient knowledge to judge whom and what we are supporting in Syria, how much this war costs us, and how much suffering the war has inflicted upon civilians – people who have never taken up arms. […] Focusing on the plight of these civilians, we conclude that much greater responsibility for Syria’s future lies with all state parties to the conflict, Russia foremost among them. […] Influence entails responsibility. Given Russia’s key role in keeping the Assad regime in power, we urge the Russian government to use its influence on Syrian authorities to end arbitrary arrests, torture and degrading treatment in prisons, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. […] Based on our interviews and the review of documentation, there was a clear pattern of indiscriminate and targeted attacks that did not correspond to the presence of military targets. Many of our witnesses insisted that in most cases residential areas, located far away from any military objects, were targeted. […] The Russian government has refused to grant status or asylum to all but a handful of Syrians, despite Russia’s role in their forced displacement. […] Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of our interviewees do not see Russia as a saviour, but as a destructive foreign force whose military and political intervention helped bolster the war criminal heading their country.”
– ‘A Devastating Decade: Violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the Syrian War,’ a report by Memorial Human Rights Centre, Civic Assistance Committee, a lawyer from St. Petersburg Soldiers’ Mothers organisation, Aleksandr Gorbachev, and a former member of Youth Human Rights Movement.
Source: Andrew Roth, ‘Rights groups in Russia condemn Moscow’s role in Syria war crimes,’ The Guardian, 2 April 2021
The report was presented at a press conference on 2 April 2021 by Svetlana Gannushkina (Civic Assistance Committee), Oleg Orlov (Memorial Human Rights Centre), Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya (Memorial Human Rights Centre), Viktoriya Gromova (fomerly of Youth Human Rights Movement) and Aleksandr Gorbachev (St. Petersburg Soldiers’ Mothers).