Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the international community to slap sanctions on the Assad regime after UN investigators blamed Assad regime forces for a sarin gas attack that killed dozens back in April 4.
“The (UN) Security Council should move swiftly to ensure accountability by imposing sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for chemical attacks in Syria,” the New York-based rights watchdog said in a statement on Friday.
The inquiry, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism, said that it is “confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017.” According to rights groups, the attack claimed the lives of at least 87 civilians and left dozens injured, many of them children.
“The Joint Investigative Mechanism report should end the deception and false theories that have been spread by the Syrian government,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.
“Syria’s repeated use of chemical weapons poses a serious threat to the international ban against the use of chemical weapons. All countries have an interest in sending a strong signal that these atrocities will not be tolerated.”
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Friday accused Russia of “consistently covering up” for the Assad regime and undermining the global consensus against the use of chemical weapons.
In light of the findings, British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft said Friday that the UN Security Council needs to follow through on a 2013 vow to respond to any chemical attacks in Syria with use of a UN charter chapter that generally amounts to sanctions.
Nikki Haley, the United States’ UN ambassador said on Friday: “Time and again, we see independent confirmation of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.”
“If such use, in spite of the prohibition by the international community, is not stopped now, a lack of consequences will surely encourage others to follow,” said the JIM’s report. “The continuing use of chemical weapons, including by non-State actors, is deeply disturbing,” it added.
The JIM has already found Assad regime forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015.
The JIM was unanimously created by the 15-member U.N. Security Council in 2015 and renewed in 2016 for another year. Its mandate is due to expire in mid-November, and Russia on Tuesday vetoed a proposal to further extend its mandate. Source: (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)