Strikes must minimise further harm to civilians in Syria

In response to reports that the United States, the United Kingdom, and France have launched strikes against targets in Syria, Diana Sayed, Crisis Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, said:

“The Australian Government has given its support to these strikes: now it must call on its allies carrying out these attacks to make the protection of civilians their utmost priority, and to take extra caution as these strikes have not been approved by the United Nations.”

“We call upon the Australian Government to continue its advocacy through the United Nations Security Council to seek a solution backed by the international community. It has already supported a resolution to create an independent investigative mechanism to examine chemical weapons use in Syria on 10 April, which was ultimately vetoed by Russia – this work must be continued.”

Amnesty International is one of the 45 NGOs that signed onto a joint statement urging the UN Secretary-General to activate an independent UN mechanism to attribute responsibility for chemical attacks in Syria.

Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for Middle East North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said:

“The people of Syria have already endured six years of devastating attacks, including chemical attacks, many of which amount to war crimes. All precautions must be taken to minimise harm to civilians in any military action. People already living in fear of losing their lives in unlawful attacks must not be further punished for the alleged violations of the Syrian government.

“Millions have fled Syria to escape violence and persecution. The Trump administration must not turn its back on the suffering of men, women, and children by continuing to ban refugees from entering the United States. It is time for the U.S. to reopen our doors to people trying to escape from the violence in Syria.”