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War on Syria's civilians unchecked: report

Berlin: The Syrian government's policy of waging war by killing civilians, and increasing abuses by rebel groups, elicited horror in 2013 but not enough pressure from world leaders to end atrocities and hold perpetrators to
IANS January 22, 2014 16:41 IST
IANS
Berlin: The Syrian government's policy of waging war by killing civilians, and increasing abuses by rebel groups, elicited horror in 2013 but not enough pressure from world leaders to end atrocities and hold perpetrators to account, Human Rights Watch has said.

The initial international response was more effective when several African countries faced mass atrocities, it said in its World Report 2014.

In the 667-page world report, its 24th annual review of human rights practices around the world, Human Rights Watch summarizes major issues in more than 90 countries.

In many countries, a misguided equation of democracy with the presumed desires of a majority prompted rulers to suppress minority views and groups, most notably in Egypt, Human Rights Watch said.

It also led some governments to enforce a narrow vision of cultural propriety, targeting in particular women, gays and lesbians.

The disclosures of the whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the US government's mass surveillance has eradicated much of our privacy in a world that virtually requires electronic communication.

But global outrage at this assault on the right to privacy offers some promise of change.

Russia, backed by China, has consistently protected the Syrian government from international action at the UN, whether explicit condemnation, an arms embargo, or referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Human Rights Watch said.

But for its own reasons, the US has also been reluctant to push for justice via the ICC.