In a painful memory of the victims of chemical attacks, the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity expresses its deep concern about the continued presence of the chemical weapons arsenal under the control of the Syrian regime. Accurate information and international reports indicate that there are serious concerns about the possibility of repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria.
In light of this tragic reality, we call on the international community to intervene urgently and decisively. The Syrian regime has been firmly censured by the global chemical weapons watchdog, as suspicions and inquiries continue about the regime’s possession and use of these banned weapons.
A group of human rights bodies and legal experts launched an initiative to establish a global court to sue the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. More than 44 countries participated in discussions about this initiative, highlighting international support for this potential step.
Documents showed that these Syrian anti-regime groups, along with international law experts, are working to establish this treaty-based court, which will have the ability to sue people suspected of using chemical weapons regardless of their geographical location.
Last month, members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons expressed their criticism of the Syrian regime for non-compliance with international obligations, declaring the presence of banned toxic munitions and not delivering them, and calling for a ban on the transfer of chemicals to Damascus.
A decision was issued by members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, reflecting the lack of compliance on the part of the regime, and aims to address the spread of chemical weapons munitions in Syria and beyond. The decision called for banning “the direct or indirect transfer of certain precursor chemicals, dual-use chemical manufacturing facilities, and related equipment and technology to Syria.”
On the other hand, the Syrian regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, on December 3, 2023, its rejection of the decision of the member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons restricting exports of chemical substances to Syria, which indicated “Syria’s continued possession and use of chemical weapons” and its failure to provide an accurate and complete declaration. “And also to destroy all undeclared chemical weapons in its possession and their production facilities.”
Russia failed to get re-elected to the organization’s Executive Council for a new two-year term, during the twenty-eighth conference of member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was held in The Hague from November 27 to December 1.
According to the voting results, Russia obtained 65 votes, and needed only one vote to maintain its membership in the Executive Council. Instead, 21 countries were elected to the Council, including Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania within the Eastern European group.
We at the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity are following this issue with increasing concern and stress that it is necessary to take immediate and effective steps to confront this dangerous threat. We must also support the efforts of the Syrians to establish a global court on chemical weapons, to ensure that all those involved in the use of these weapons are held accountable and to help prevent the recurrence of these horrific crimes.
Despite the ongoing calls for investigation and accountability, the Syrian regime’s chemical arsenal remains in place and poses a potential threat to international security and human stability. We urge the world to act quickly and effectively to prevent further deterioration and reduce the risks of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and elsewhere, which requires international cooperation to protect humanity and strive towards a world free of these deadly weapons.
Holding those responsible for these crimes against the Syrian people accountable represents a vital foundation for ensuring justice and providing a safe and stable environment in Syria. The application of justice enhances confidence, demonstrates commitment to protecting human rights and the rule of law, and paves the way for providing the safe environment necessary for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of displaced Syrians and refugees to their homes.