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Syrian consul silent about crackdown

by Erin Empey Dominion Stories

Syrian consul silent about crackdown

Also posted by Erin Empey:

Members of Vancouver’s Syrian community and Amnesty International demonstrated outside of the Syrian consulate to protest human rights abuses by the Syrian government on Thursday, and to demand the resignation of Sawsan A. Habbal, Syria’s consul in Vancouver.

“[Habbal] is a human rights lawyer and she is not representing that at all,” said Jeanne d’Arc-Remko, who attended the demonstration. “We want everyone to know that the Syrian consulate is supporting a bloody regime. There are children between the ages of 5 and 10 who are being murdered just for standing in the streets.”

The Syrian government began an aggressive crackdown on the city of Hama on August 1st, killing dozens of people, according to Amnesty International. The regime is responsible for killing at least 2,000 Syrians since protests against President Bashar al-Assad began in mid-March.

Rahim Hamawi, whose real last name has been changed at his request, has family in Hama. “We’ve been trying to call them every day,” he said. “All communication is down. My cousin, luckily she escaped from the city last night through farmlands and she says the situation is horrible.”

Hamawi said even when he does talk to his family, he worries they are censoring themselves out of fear that the phone lines are monitored.  “They have been seeing dead bodies all over the place and even if they were threatened they wouldn’t tell us over the phone.”

Another man, who didn’t want his name used, said that the consul’s position as a human rights lawyer representing the Assad regime was a conflict of interests. “I understand if there is a threat against her family back in Syria she might be reluctant to speak out but there is a matter here of what is the right thing to do.”

People from across ethnic and religious lines are uniting against the Syrian government, says, Mallaz  Khalil, who is a member of the minority group represented by the regime. He criticized Habbal for not condemning the government and said Syrians need support from the international community.

Police escorted D’Arc-Remko and Khalil to Habbal’s Vancouver office to meet with her but she was unavailable. Habbal did not respond to requests for comment for this article in time for publication.

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Comments

Ahhh once more the double

Ahhh once more the double standards of democracy!

Does Amnesty International protests against the assassinations and detentions of Native activists in Canada? And why their silence on the systematic deportations and evictions of Roma people in Western Europe? And what about the human rights abuses conducted in prisons right here in Canada?

Hypocrites make me vomit. Go suck some UN bureaucrat.

Amnesty is very active defending Roma rights, & First Nations

Hi Anabraxas,

Have you seen many of the Amnesty reports on Roma people's issues, or First Nations issues? Try: 

"France must heed EU Call to End Roma Discrimination" (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/france-must-heed-eu-call-end-roma-discrimination-2010-09-10)

"Stop forced evictions of Roma in Serbia" (http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/stop-forced-evictions-roma-serbia-1)

"Amnesty Slams Romania on Forced Evictions of Roma" (http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/06/23/amnesty-slams-romania-on-forced-evictions-of-roma/)

"Amnesty Dismayed at European Commission's Response to France's Treatment of Roma" (http://www.fightdiscrimination.eu/news-and-events/amnesty-dismayed-commission%E2%80%99s-response-france%E2%80%99s-roma-treatment)

 

And on First Nations in Canada, the "Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples" is listed as Campaign Priority #1 on the Amnesty.ca website: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog2.php?blog=hr_indigenous_peoples. Amnesty runs campaigns with the Lubicon Cree, calls for land rights at Grassy Narrows, fights discrimination against aboriginal women with the Stolen Sisters campaign...please check these out. 

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