Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau requested formal negotiations Thursday with the UN General Assembly to hold the Assad regime accountable for its atrocities in the 2011 Syrian civil war. The negotiations would be held on the grounds of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
The request is similar to a request submitted by the Netherlands last year. According to an inquiry by the UN’s Human Rights Council, approximately 400,000 persons have died because of the conflict. The Syrian government has consistently denied any international efforts and demands to alleviate the human rights situations.
Canada has invested $3.5 billion over the span of five years to provide necessities to victims in the region. Canada is one of the top donors in humanitarian efforts and settled approximately 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016. Garneau stated in a news release that Canada will maintain its non-negotiable stance on human rights abuses.
“For the last decade, the Syrian regime has inflicted brutal and shocking attacks on its own people,” Garneau said. “It is our hope that today’s action serves to bring us closer to truth, justice and accountability. The people of Syria deserve nothing less.”
The situation in Syria is still bleak given that almost 13.1 million people in the region are still in constant danger.