Syrian Rebels and Human Rights

Syria Rebels

Humans are born with inherent rights. Nationality, geographical location, ethnic origin, sex, language, religion and color have no bearing on these rights. The rights require that we are all treated equally, without discrimination; and these rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. This is a cornerstone of democratic thought.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) has echoed through history, at various international rights conventions, cited in many resolutions and declarations. Political, economic, or cultural systems do not play a role in who is or is not protected under these rights, as was stated in the 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights. Human rights are absolute and undeniable, unless under due process, an individual or group is found guilty by a court of law. In the United States of America, this declaration is followed for the most part. In Syria and many other countries, rebels have changed the rules of the game.

Near the Syrian city of Latakia, human rights have been denied and the laws set by mankind are seemingly, routinely ignored. Opposition fighters killed close to 200 civilians and committed grievous acts that may have been crimes against humanity in the village of Alawite on Friday. It was reported that the fighters overran the government army’s position, then occupied more than ten villages after August 4, during an opposition offensive.

Civilians, mostly women and children, are still being held hostage by the opposition groups that led the offensive in August. It has been reported that the two groups responsible were the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). These groups are known to be affiliated with al Qaeda in Iraq and Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar in Syria.

Human Rights Watch says five groups were “the key fundraisers, organizers, planners and executors of the attacks” and “were clearly present from the outset of the operation.” They also said that there is proof “linking all five to specific incidents that amount to war crimes.” The Human Rights Watch report also suggested the killings, hostage-taking and abuses were at the level considered to be crimes against humanity.

Human Rights Watch is an independent organization committed to upholding and protecting basic human rights. When human rights are violated internationally, Human Rights Watch gives voice to those who are unable to do so and holds violators accountable for their crimes. This organization has been working to preserve the rights of people throughout the world for over 30 years and has brought justice, security and change to those in need.

This watchdog organization has collected the names of over 190 people killed, all of whom were civilians, during this offensive massacre. The evidence shows that more likely than not, the victims were killed on August 4, the first day of the operation. Many residents remained missing and it was reported that many of these brutal fighters buried large numbers of bodies in mass graves; no actual body-count is available still.

The Syrian rebels have committed unspeakable crimes against humanity. In committing these crimes, they have abused their power and persecuted many not responsible for their oppression. The Syrian rebels have  betrayed many who might have otherwise offered them their sympathies and support against the Syrian regime.

 

(op-ed)

Written by: Amy Magness Whatley

 

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Definition

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