Qatar stresses need to prevent impunity in Syria to halt crimes against humanity – Doha News

The Gulf state had shut down its embassy in Damascus at the height of the Arab Spring.

Qatar stressed the need to prevent impunity in Syria “to deter the continuation” of crimes against humanity, on Saturday, as war crimes continue to be perpertuated under the Bashar Al Assad regime, 11 years after the onset of the Syrian revolution.

This came during the address of the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Sharifa Yousef Alnesf, at the United Nations General Assembly.

The meeting was focused on the “Report of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in Syria since March 2011”.

Memories in ruins: Syrians remember the Arab Spring 11 years on

During the event, Alnesf said that Qatar will continue to cooperate with its international partners in an effort “to constructively contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis through a purposeful political process that leads to a political transition”.

“Qatar stressed that accountability and the prevention of impunity is of paramount importance to deter the continuation or recurrence of crimes against humanity, stressing that accountability is a conducive factor to achieving reconciliation and sustainable peace and putting an end to the protracted Syrian crisis,” said the Gulf state’s foreign ministry (MOFA) at the UN session.

On Friday, Qatar joined 23 countries in voting for the extension of the UN mandate to investigate human rights violations in Syria.

The Gulf state has long called for adhering to the Geneva Declaration and the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to resolve the worsening situation in Syria.

Unlike some countries in the Middle East, namely the UAE and Jordan, Qatar has staunchly refused to normalise with the Assad regime for its crimes against Syrian civilians.

“Qatar reiterated its support for the establishment of the mechanism and its activation, and providing the necessary support to it and the principle of accountability,” added MOFA.

Syria has been mired in an ongoing war and a worsening humanitarian crisis since Assad started violent crackdowns on peaceful protestors in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

At the heigh of the uprisings, Qatar shut down its embassy in Syria and openly called on Assad to step down. It was also the first  country to establish an embassy for the Syrian opposition.

The Arab League had suspend Syria’s membership during the revolution from the bloc due to Assad’s ongoing war crimes against civilians.

The Assad regime has continued to carry out attacks on civilians in Syria with the backing of Russia and Iran whilst using chemical weapons on the population.

The war has forced Syrians out of the country and created a refugee crisis. By 2021, the registered number of refugees reached 6.6 million.

In addition to the shelling of civilians, the Assad regime has carried out horrifying methods of torture, some of which were exposed  in 2014 through the Caesar photographs.

Leaked by a defected Syrian military photographer,  more than 28,000 photos of deaths under government custody displayed the cruelty of the regime.

2017 Amnesty report has also found that at least 17,723 people have been killed in the regime’s custody between March 2011 and December 2015, with an average of 300 deaths occurring each month.

The UN said last month that a total 22 million people have been displaced as more than 100,000 are missing or forcibly disappeared. The country’s poverty rate has also reached 90%, with 14.6 million people depending on humanitarian aid.

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