Testimony: Syria After 5 Years

Testimony:  Syria After 5 Years

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This morning I spoke at a Syria briefing in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Organized by Crisis Action, the briefing focused on the 5 year anniversary of the start of the armed conflict in Syria.

Syria: Hope after 5 Years – Justice, Humanitarian Aid and looking to Syria’s Future
Friday March 18, 10:00am-12:00pm

 

 

Briefing Description:

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9 Questions for the U.S. Government on the Middle East:

Saudi Arabia:  U.S. intelligence cooperation

Is the U.S. providing intelligence to the Government of Saudi Arabia that can be used by Saudi Arabian authorities to violate the human rights of peaceful reformers and critics?

Saudi Arabia:  Prisoners of Conscience

What steps is the U.S. government taking to secure the release of prisoners of conscience like Raif Badawi from Saudi Arabia’s prisons?

Israel:  

What steps is the U.S. taking to prevent the Government of Israel from using U.S. arms to commit human rights violations against Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation?

Syria: Refugee resettlement

There are now 4 million Syrian refugees.  Over the last four years, the U.S. has only resettled a few hundred Syrian refugees.  How many Syrian refugees does the U.S. expect to permanently resettle in the U.S. in 2015?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. military assistance

How will the U.S. prevent U.S. military assistance in Iraq and Syria from facilitating more war crimes and human rights abuses?
What steps is the U.S. taking to protect Sunni communities from abuses by Shi’a militias affiliated with the Iraqi government?

Syria/Iraq:  U.S. air strikes

Is the U.S. investigate reports of civilian casualties from U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq?

Will the U.S. publish the results of these investigations, hold accountable those responsible for civilian casualties, and provide reparations to families and survivors?

Bahrain:  U.S. arms sales

In 2012, the U.S. State Department announced that it would not allow the sale of arms to Bahrain “typically used by police and other security forces for internal security” or “crowd control.”  Has the U.S. resumed the sale of arms to Bahrain in this category?

Is the U.S. currently providing arms to Bahraini security forces that can be used against peaceful protestors and critics of the government?

U.S. Senate Committee passes humanitarian aid resolution on Syria

Notes on U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing

Date: Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Time: 02:15 PM
Location: S-116 Capitol Building

Attended / compiled by Anna McMahon, Intern, Middle East/North Africa Advocacy Department, Amnesty International USA

U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Presiding: Senator Menendez

Summary: Unanimous passage of Resolution 384 from Committee.

Resolution 384:

“Expressing the sense of the Senate concerning the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries, resulting humanitarian and development challenges, and the urgent need for a political solution to the crisis.”

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My Comments to The Atlantic Monthly: On War Crimes in Syria

The Atlantic Monthly: “Are Women Being Targeted in Syria?”
Lauren Wolfe | Monday, December 10, 2012

“When Syrian armed forces have used indiscriminate air bombardment or artillery to attack civilian areas, these are war crimes,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Full article here.

Syrian cyberwar rages on — ForeignPolicy.com

By Sulome Anderson | Foreign Policy

Monday, September 10, 2012

… Also in August, Amnesty International’s blog Livewire was targeted by another pro-Assad hacker group that accused the rebel army of committing massacres that have been linked to government forces. The attack, which was not claimed by any specific group of hackers, included a false blog post lamenting that “it is clear the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels are not going to stop their crimes. And with no accountability and a steady supply of weapons, why should they given they have come this far under NATO protection?”

Another one of the false posts was titled “Amnesty Calls on UN to stop the US, Qatar and Turkey funding and arming Syria Rebels,” and created the impression that Amnesty International was condemning NATO and the US for meddling in the Syrian civil war. Sanjeev Bery, Amnesty International’s USA advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, explained the attack in an article published on the group’s website:

“It’s entirely possible that, given that we’ve been so forthright in criticizing the Syrian government for its crimes against humanity; that could conceivably make us the target of some kind of campaign.”

Full article here.

WaPo: “Amnesty International Web site hacked by supporters of Syrian government”

By James Ball
Washington Post
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Excerpt:

“Amnesty International has been very blunt in the reporting that we’ve done and the eyewitness accounts that we’ve collected in Syria,” said Sanjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “It’s entirely possible that, given that we’ve been so forthright in criticizing the Syrian government for its crimes against humanity, that could conceivably make us the target of some kind of campaign.

Bery said Amnesty’s position on the civil war in Syria has been clear.

“We are deeply concerned both about the continuing crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Syrian government through its forces as well as concerned by war crimes that have been committed both by the Syrian government armed forces and by some opposition forces,” he said.

Full article linked.