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Canada calls for Syrian regime to be held accountable under UN Convention Against Torture

Canada has called for Syria to be held accountable for war crimes [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2021

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Canada has called on the UN to hold the Assad regime accountable for crimes against its own people after a similar request by the Netherlands.
Canada has called for the UN to hold the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad accountable for human rights violations committed throughout the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011.

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced on Thursday that his country has requested formal negotiations under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to hold Bashar al-Assad’s government accountable for human rights violations.

“For the last decade, the Syrian regime has inflicted brutal and shocking attacks on its own people. It is our hope that today’s action serves to bring us closer to truth, justice and accountability. The people of Syria deserve nothing less,” said Garneau.

This case follows a similar request by the Netherlands in September 2020, in which it prepared a case at the UN to hold the regime accountable for torture and use of chemical weapons. 

“Canada has repeatedly called on the Assad regime to end the egregious human rights abuses against its own citizens, including notably, by leading a widely supported UN General Assembly resolution to mobilize the international community to this effect,” the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Despite these calls for justice, Syria has denied and ignored demands to respect human rights. This is why Canada is taking steps to request negotiation of its dispute under the UN Convention Against Torture. Syria must answer for its grave breaches of international law.”

The Canadian action came after the new US envoy to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, accused Russia on Thursday of seeking to stymie efforts to hold Assad's regime accountable for its use of chemical weapons throughout the conflict.

Staggering cost of the war

Meanwhile, a report was released released on Thursday by California-based NGO World Vision International stating that the Syrian conflict had cost $1.2 trillion in damage. 

Even if the war ended today, there would be a further $1.4 trillion in additional consequences until 2035, said the report.

If the impact of the war on Syrian children's health and education is taken into account, the latter figure goes up to $1.7 trillion.

The group also said that the life expectancy of Syrian children has been reduced by 13 years.

Despite these staggering losses, humanitarian aid to Syria over the last 10 years amounted to $19.4 billion, just 1.6% of the total damage to the Syrian economy.

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