War in Ukraine: a “rehearsal” of Syria, Amnesty alarm

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a “resumption” of the war in Syria, Amnesty International warned on Tuesday, condemning a “multiplication of war crimes”. The NGO calls for abandoning any position of neutrality vis-à-vis Moscow.

“What is happening in Ukraine is a repetition of what we have seen in Syria,” NGO Secretary-General Agnès Callamard told AFP during the Johannesburg presentation of the 2021-2022 report on the human rights situation in the country. world.

“We are in deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure, homes” and bombing of schools, she blasted, accusing Russia of allowing humanitarian corridors to turn them into a “death trap”.

By comparing the martyr city of Mariupol (east) with the Syrian city of Aleppo, destroyed by the atrocities of the Damascus regime backed by Moscow in a war that has lasted for eleven years, the organization condemns “a diversity of war crimes” in Ukraine.

“There can be no neutrality”

“Our on-site researchers for ten days documented the use of the same tactics as in Syria and Chechnya,” including the attack on civilians and the use of ammunition banned under international law, described during a press conference in Paris, Marie Struthers, Director of Amnesty Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Russia’s “rudeness” in launching the attack was made possible by “an international system on its knees” and the inability of institutions, including the UN Security Council, to manage past wars, said Ms Callamard, who recalled that in times of pandemic, conflicts continued , especially in Ethiopia, Burma and Afghanistan.

“Stand for Russia, there can be no neutrality,” she hammered, referring to African heads of state. During the vote on a UN resolution calling for the withdrawal of Russian forces in early March, about twenty African countries abstained.

One of the continent’s voices on diplomacy issues, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa preaches mediation and takes a “weak, not very historical and not very visionary” stance, and regrets Mrs Callamard.


After more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic, Amnesty International also condemns in its report human rights attacks under the pretext of fighting the spread of the virus.

States have used the pandemic “as a pretext to further reduce civilian space,” the organization said, calling for a speedy lifting of restrictions that are no longer justified from a health point of view.

“All over the world, states have wrongfully prevented and spread demonstrations, sometimes under the guise of rules aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus,” especially in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad, Amnesty reports.

Security forces fired sharp ammunition. In Eswatini or South Sudan, internet access has been cut off to cut off disputes. In total, laws restricting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly have been enacted in at least 67 of the 154 countries observed. Among them are Cambodia, Egypt, the United States, Pakistan and Turkey.


The virus has killed more than six million people since it appeared in China in late 2019, according to the WHO. With vaccination, many countries are gradually lowering sanitary measures.

“In terms of human rights, 2021 will mainly have been a major story of betrayal and hypocrisy in the halls of power,” Amnesty concluded, referring to vaccine inequality.

As the rate of anti-Covid vaccination in Europe exceeded 70%, many countries in the South had not yet received enough to administer a first dose to their population, the NGO recalls.

With sharp criticism of “the old and cruel logic of life that matters and those that do not matter,” Ms. Callamard describes a year that “has served as an incubator for more inequality and instability.”

This article has been published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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