12:00 GMT18 May 2021
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    Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) Lama Fakih said that any ceasefire agreement on Syrian crisis should consider the respect for human rights.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Key human rights of Syrian people must be prioritized during the talks on Syria set to be held on February 23 in Geneva, which implies ending attacks on civilians, guaranteeing humanitarian aid access, observing detainee rights as well as reforming justice and security sector, 40 human rights and other organizations said Tuesday.

    "One of the main goals of the Geneva talks should be putting an end to the violations against Syrians who have faced bombing, chemical attacks, starvation, illegal detention, and more horrors," Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) Lama Fakih said, according to a statement published on the HRW website.

    Any ceasefire agreement should consider the respect for human rights, she added.

    Firstly, the rights groups called for ensuring that unlawful attacks not carried out on populated civilian areas. The warring sides should stop committing war crimes and must take actions to minimize civilian casualties, the statement said.

    This would also include termination of providing military equipment to the Syrian government and armed opposition groups until they stop abuses, the statement said.

    Secondly, the warring sides must abide by the international humanitarian law and UN Security Council resolutions by letting fleeing civilians leave besieged areas and allow immediate access for humanitarian aid. Justice must be one of prevailing points of any future plan, the statement read. This should include cooperation with the UN Commission of Inquiry, established for investigating crimes in Syria, committed since 2011.

    Rights groups also called for the establishment of an independent vetting mechanism for senior security officials.

    Any agreement, reached between the sides, must also include a commitment to release innocent detainees and to grant observers access to detention facilities to review the conditions there. All detainees must be given basic protections under the international law, such as a possibility to have regular access to lawyers, the statement said.

    Reforms to the security sector should also cancel or amend the laws that criminalize the expression of human rights, the statement concluded.

    The war in Syria started in 2011. By August 2016 the death toll due to the crisis was over 400,000 people, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Russia, among other states, is involved in efforts to settle the crisis in Syria peacefully. A draft constitution has been presented to the Syrian warring sides in order to accelerate the process of putting end to the war.

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    Tags:
    human rights, Intra-Syria talks, Human Rights Watch, Syria
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