Human Rights and the Will to be free
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Bahrain, MENA & Arab Spring
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Director-General condemns continued killing of Syrian citizen journalists | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General condemns continued killing of Syrian citizen journalists | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

“I condemn the deaths of Suhaib Dib, Mohamed Hamdo Hallaq, Samer Khalil Al-Sataleh, Ghias Khaled Al-Hmouria, Omar Al-Ghantawi, Ahmed Hamada and Khaled Al-Bakir, who lost their lives while covering events in Syria. Their names are a regrettable addition to the all-too-long list of reporters killed on the line of duty. The free flow of information ensured by journalists - both professionals and citizen journalists – is an essential condition for democracy and for peaceful debate among citizens and their ability to do their work must be preserved. ....

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Revealed: Syrian torture centres

Revealed: Syrian torture centres | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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While most of those interviewed by the human rights group were young men aged between 18 and 35, the torture victims interviewed also included children, women, and the elderly. Each interviewee has indicated on satellite imagery the exact location of the prison in which they were held, then the location, facilities, staff, commanders and method of torture were verified by several torture victims and defectors.

Protesters holding up banners during a protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Kfarnabel in Idlib province. 
HRW estimates that Syrian authorities have subjected tens of thousands of people to arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture using this extensive network of prisons and torture centres.
In a detailed set of maps and command structures, the group has documented the exact location, agency, commander and type of torture used, using testimony corroborated by multiple witnesses, both victims and perpetrators.
Spokesman Nadim Houry says, based on the evidence collected, the actual number of such facilities is likely much higher.

“We believe there is strong evidence that there is a state policy of torture and that it is widespread,” Mr Houry says. “These security services represent a shadow parallel state that must be held to account.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/revealed-syrian-torture-centres-20120703-21eff.html#ixzz20haSAFs6 ...

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Outrage Mounts Over Syria Massacre

Outrage Mounts Over Syria Massacre | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

What activists are calling the worst of three large-scale massacres in Syria since late May is sparking widespread outrage, with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan singling out the Syrian government for the violence and the opposition demanding swift international action.

With unusual candor, Annan Friday blamed government forces and armed militiamen backed by tanks and helicopters for slaughtering as many as 220 people in the Sunni farming village of Tremseh, in rebellious Hama province.

Condemning what he called "atrocities" and voicing shock at the "intense fighting, significant casualties and the confirmed use of heavy weaponry," Annan said the Syrian government had violated its commitments to the peace plan he brokered in April 

Rebel backers claim the attack on Thursday was the worst single act of violence since the country's revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood also blamed Assad for the reported massacre and what it called Syria's foreign backers, including Russia, Iran and Annan. Protests broke out in multiple cities across Syria Friday, with demonstrators condemning the killings in Tremseh. .....

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Ra7oo (A song for Alhoula) راحوا ( أغنيه عن علي السيد ) مجزره الحوله

Ali is an 11 year old Syrian boy who survived Alhoula. The rest of his family was not as lucky, or isn't he? I had to write this song to ventilate some of my...
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Syria Files .....New data set from WikiLeaks!

Syria Files .....New data set from WikiLeaks! | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Today, Thursday 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files – more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.

This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture.

Over the next two months, ground-breaking stories derived from the files will appear in WikiLeaks (global), Al Akhbar (Lebanon), Al Masry Al Youm (Egypt), ARD (Germany), Associated Press (US), L’Espresso (Italy), Owni (France) and Publico.es (Spain). Other publications will announce themselves closer to their publishing date.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents. It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it."

At this time Syria is undergoing a violent internal conflict that has killed between 6,000 and 15,000 people in the last 18 months. The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another. ....

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Could Syria-Turkey Conflict Pull NATO In?

Could Syria-Turkey Conflict Pull NATO In? | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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But in the United Nations Charter, there are two grounds for war. One is self-defense. The other is a UNSC resolution designating a state as a source of disorder in the international system.

By firing on the Turkish plane (more especially in international waters), Syria has presented Turkey with a legitimate casus belli, a legal cause for war. The news that Syria actually tried to shoot down a second Turkish plane underscores this legal point. Turkey may defend itself. ...[The plane was shot down over international waters; it may have veered into Syrian airspace at one point, but that would have merited a warning, not a shoot-down.]

Here is the kicker. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And the NATO charter’s article 5 declares that an attack on one member is an attack on all. NATO is duty-bound to defend Turkey if it is attacked and if it asks for help. Article 4 allows a country to call for consultations among the allies if it feels its territorial integrity is threatened.

Turkey is asking for help. It is asking that NATO be convened under Article 5 for only the second time in the organization’s history.

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Turkish intelligence says that it has evidence that the Syrian military knew that the plane was Turkish, referring to it as “komsu,” the Turkish word for “neighbor.”

...Turkey and Syria had established good relations in the last decade, but the revolution and civil war have forced Turkey to take a stand. Ankara has sided with the revolutionaries, and called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are suspected of supplying the Syrian revolutionaries with rocket-propelled grenades and other war materiel that would allow them to take on the powerful Syrian military machine. Some observers believe that the RPGs and other weapons are being smuggled in from Turkey. And, such smuggling operations might need aerial support to make sure there aren’t Syrian troops along the smuggling route.

So the Syrians may have deliberately been sending Turkey a message, to back off.

It was a stupid move. As long a Syria did not engage in hostilities with other states in the region, it was teflon, since Russia and China were protecting it at the UN. But now that it has fired on a NATO plane, it has offered Turkey and its colleagues a legal way to use force.

...

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New Syrian 'massacres' reported as Jordan grants pilot asylum - CNN.com

New Syrian 'massacres' reported as Jordan grants pilot asylum - CNN.com | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

A Syrian military pilot flew to Jordan and was granted asylum Thursday, a day after the United States warned members of the Syrian military they could face international criminal prosecution for attacks on civilians

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Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war

Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Syrian rebels are being armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, The Independent has learnt, in a development that threatens to inflame a regional power struggle provoked by the 15-month-old uprising against the Assad regime.
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Syria: Sexual Assault in Detention | Human Rights Watch

Syria: Sexual Assault in Detention | Human Rights Watch | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
(New York) – Syrian government forces have used sexual violence to torture men, women, and boys detained during the current conflict.
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Rebels battle Syrian forces in Damascus - CBS News

Anti-Assad fighters battle regime forces in capital, marking increased boldness by rebels...
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Outrage grows over Syrian massacre - CNN.com

Outrage grows over Syrian massacre - CNN.com | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
World outrage grew Saturday as details emerged about an attack in the Syrian village of Houla, which left more than 90 people dead, including children.
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Iran confirms sending troops to Syria

Iran confirms sending troops to Syria | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
News, Mideast News: Islamic Republic admits its forces are aiding Assad's regime in crackdown on pro-democracy protesters; UN's tally of fatalities in Syrian uprising is at 13,000...
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Syrian forces kill 7 civilians in rural attack: activists

Syrian forces kill 7 civilians in rural attack: activists | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian troops backed by tanks shot dead seven civilians when they overran a rebellious Sunni Muslim village west of the city of Hama on Sunday, activists' organizations said, in a crackdown on the rural epicenter of the 14-month anti-government revolt.

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Torture Archipelago Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and Enforced Disappearances in Syria’s Underground Prisons since March 2011

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Since the beginning of anti-government protests in March 2011, Syrian authorities have
subjected tens of thousands of people to arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, enforced
disappearances, ill-treatment, and torture using an extensive network of detention
facilities, an archipelago of torture centers, scattered throughout Syria.
Based on more than 200 interviews with former detainees, including women and children,
and defectors from the Syrian military and intelligence agencies, this report focuses on 27
of these detention facilities. For each facility, most of them with cells and torture chambers
and one or several underground floors, we provide the exact location, identify the agencies
responsible for operating them, document the type of ill-treatment and torture used, and
name, to the extent possible, the individuals running them. The facilities included in this
report are those for which multiple witnesses have indicated the same location and
provided detailed descriptions about the use of torture. The actual number of such
facilities is likely much higher.
In charge of Syria’s network of detention facilities are the country’s four main intelligence
agencies, commonly referred to collectively as the mukhabarat:
• the Department of Military Intelligence (Shu`bat al-Mukhabarat al-`Askariyya);
• the Political Security Directorate (Idarat al-Amn al-Siyasi);
• the General Intelligence Directorate (Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-`Amma); and
• the Air Force Intelligence Directorate (Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-Jawiyya). ....

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Syria Moves Some Chemical Weapons, U.S. Says

Syria Moves Some Chemical Weapons, U.S. Says | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Syria has started moving some parts of its huge stockpile of chemical weapons out of storage, American officials said Friday, but it was uncertain whether the transfer was a precaution as security conditions across the country rapidly deteriorated, or something more sinister. ....
Over the past four decades, Syria has amassed one of the largest undeclared stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the world, including sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide, the officials said. It is unclear which agents are being moved, how big the transfers have been, and where the weapons are being taken. ...

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Surviving a storm: Palestinian refugees caught in Syrian crossfire — RT

Surviving a storm: Palestinian refugees caught in Syrian crossfire — RT | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Palestinian refugees who fled the long struggle in their own region now wearily watch the Syrian civil war unfold. Despite efforts to stay out of the conflict, they still get caught in crossfire, with 17 Palestinians tortured and killed recently. ...

But as the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime flared up in March 2011, Syria’s Palestinians found themselves in a tight spot. The opposition urged the refugees to demonstrate against Assad, while the regime clearly expected some support in return for the unprecedented rights granted them. However the Palestinians do not want to take sides in the conflict.
“No matter what and who is at the helm, our safety is guaranteed by law. It’s the people here – and the system – that accept us, not just a leader or regime,” Abdelghani Halilo, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told RT....

“They wanted to both weaken the regime and spread despair among Palestinians in order to make them give up fighting for their rights to get occupied lands back,” Anwar Raja from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine told RT.
The incident, following the assassination of a Hamas leader in June, has raised fresh concerns amongst the Palestinian community in Syria that they are being targeted deliberately so as to upset their neutral position.
“This all is a Syrian affair. We are focused on protecting our own camps. But this ‘opposition’ has wanted to drag us down since the beginning. Now we can see they use all possible tools,” Yaser Tamim of the Palestinian Cultural Center told RT. “It is stupid to think this will succeed. We are guests here. Nothing can happen to make us change our position.” ...

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UN is a farce!: Iran elected to top post at UN Arms Trade Treaty conference

UN is a farce!:  Iran elected to top post at UN Arms Trade Treaty conference | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

...“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to now elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group based in Geneva.

"This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.'s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria's declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible."

UN Watch called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day as the election, to condemn the decision to give Iran a position of responsibility in regulating the arms trade.

"He should remind the conference that the Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its probited nuclear program, and that Iran continues to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments to the murderous Assad regime," said Neuer.

"Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers," the Security Council report recently found, citing the discovery of Iranian shipments to Damascus of assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items. ...

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Syrian funds come under UAE scanner - Khaleej Times

Syrian funds come under UAE scanner - Khaleej Times | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Banks and financial institutions in the UAE have started searching for any accounts, investments, money deposited and transferred by 139 top Syrian regime officials including President Bashar Al Assad, his family, political associates, ministers, military top-brass along with 59-public sector institutions and agencies with wide tentacles. ...

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EU ministers urge restraint from Turkey

EU ministers urge restraint from Turkey | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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"We alreadyknow there is an 'undeclared war' being carried out between Turkey and Syria," he said, citing the presence of the Syrian opposition and Syrian refugees sheltering on Turkish soil.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, has so far eschewed bellicose rhetoric, and has seemed to back away from any suggestion of an armed response.

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The UN has said more than 10,000 people have been killed by government forces, while Syria has said at least 2,600 members of the military and security forces have died at the hands of what it calls foreign-backed "terrorists".

The recent intensification of fighting has raised fears in Turkey of a further flood of refugees and a slide into ethnic and religious warfare that could envelop the region.

Ankara, like the West, is torn between a wish to remove Assad and the fear that any armed intervention could unleash such forces.

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U.S. Hypocrisy on Parade: Washington Arms Bahrain, Denounces Russia For Arming Syria - Forbes

U.S. Hypocrisy on Parade: Washington Arms Bahrain, Denounces Russia For Arming Syria - Forbes | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

It wasn’t that long ago when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syrian President Bashar Assad was a force for reform. Now she is outraged that Russia is allegedly backing Assad with weapons. At the same time, the U.S. is arming the government of Bahrain, which oppresses its Shia majority.

Duplicity and hypocrisy may be inevitable in diplomacy. However, ostentatious duplicity and hypocrisy are not. Sanctimoniously denouncing Moscow for behaving like Washington tarnishes America’s image abroad.

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UN Observers Suspend Syria Mission

UN Observers Suspend Syria Mission | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

BEIRUT — U.N. observers suspended their patrols in Syria on Saturday due to a recent spike in violence, the strongest sign yet that an international peace plan was unraveling despite months of diplomatic efforts to prevent the country from plunging into civil war....

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Syria: Should the world take action? - VoteGlobal.com

Syria: Should the world take action? - VoteGlobal.com | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Despite repeated UN attempts Syria has slipped closer to all out civil war. Should the West work with Arab nations to take action outside the UN similar to the formation of the Contact Group on Libya?

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The U.N.’s Syria disaster

The U.N.’s Syria disaster | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

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Mr. Annan’s concession was forced in part by the latest massacre by a government-backed militia. In a village near Hama, some 80 people were butchered and their homes burned. A BBC reporter who visited the scene tweeted: “You can see that a terrible crime has taken place.” Like a massacre two weeks ago in another village, this was an instance of sectarian cleansing. The militia members came from the Alawite sect of Bashar al-Assad, while the victims were Sunni.

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[Assad is a disgrace to Shia Islam..........Assad is a disgrace to ISLAM ! ]

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UN REPORT: Security Council's statement on Houla / Syria

UN REPORT: Security Council's statement on Houla / Syria | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the killings, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs, in attacks that involved a series of government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood. The members of the Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse. The members of the Security Council extended their profound sympathies and sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and underscored their grave concern about the situation of civilians in Syria.....

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Dozens of children killed in new Syria attack

Dozens of children killed in new Syria attack | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it
Gruesome video Saturday showed rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque in bloody shorts and T-shirts with gaping head wounds, haunting images of what activists called one of the deadliest regime attacks yet in Syria's 14-month-old uprising.
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