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For Immediate Release

President Obama’s Call for Assad to Step Down is Positive Step

Physicians for Human Rights also calls for accountability for human rights violations

08/18/2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) applauds President Obama’s decision today to call on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to step down following the brutal assaults on pro-democracy protesters. Today’s announcement is the first time the Administration has clearly stated its support for the ouster of Assad. 

PHR sources have documented serious attacks against civilians, in which more than 1,700 people have been killed. The Syrian government has engaged in rampant and widespread criminality, including violations of medical neutrality. 

While the Administration’s call for President Assad’s resignation and announcement of additional sanctions are important steps forward, all perpetrators of grave human rights violations must be held accountable for their actions. Instilling a tradition of accountability will bolster the trajectory of democracy in Syria.

PHR also strongly supports the efforts of the US in calling for a UN Human Rights Council special session on Syria, and is thankful for the work the US and its partners have done in keeping Syria off this international human rights body. We also support the Administration’s increased sanctions against the Syrian government and the mitigation of any unintended consequences of the sanctions on the Syrian people. 

“Today, the US Administration took a strong stand in solidarity with the Syrian people. By pushing for the end of the Assad regime, the US is trying to create real political space for the Syrian people to determine their future,” said Hans Hogrefe, PHR Washington Director and Chief Policy Officer, “However, the widespread human rights violations and the many deaths caused by the brutal crackdown cannot be absolved by a simple resignation. Instead, there must be full accountability for the perpetrators.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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