Six EU countries support intervention in Syria – why isn’t the UK one of them?

Tory-led Britain continues to 'sit on the fence' when the war criminals of Syria should be sitting in the dock

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Richard Howitt MEP is Labour’s spokesperson on foreign affairs in the European Parliament and Labour Euro MP for the East of England

David Cameron and William Hague like to talk tough about holding to account those responsible for the bloodshed in Syria, but what they won’t tell you is that they have been instrumental in blocking Assad and his henchmen being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

assadThis week in the European parliament, I castigated Britain as one of a group of EU governments who ensured referring Syria to the ICC was removed from the draft conclusions of the last EU meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers, and did so again by withdrawing a resolution the EU was due to submit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and due to be voted today.

I told MEPs our government’s inaction flies in the face of the evidence of torture by beating, electrocution, burning, hanging, sexual humiliation and mock execution, published by Human Rights Watch this very week.

Six EU countries have stepped forward to back the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to actively authorise ICC intervention. Yet Tory-led Britain has refused to do so.

Instead the Tory MEP Spokesperson replied to my speech saying it was “not expedient” for the UK to back this call, whilst the current EU presidency seeking to justify the refuseniks said they “didn’t want to cause controversy at this time”.

As the chair of the European Parliament’s delegation to the UN’s International Criminal Court review conference, I acknowledge the timing of a referral must be sensitive to efforts towards conflict-resolution.

 


See also:

Syria: Chilling scale of Assad’s state-sponsored torture revealed 3 Jul 2012

‘The UN just arrive after the massacres and film the corpses… They are just watching us die’ 7 Jun 2012

“They were murdered one by one… executed with a bullet to the head or a knife to the throat” 30 May 2012

We can’t sit back and allow more massacres: It’s time for military action in Syria 28 May 2012

Syria: When will the West act? 2 Jan 2012


 

However I told Parliament that delay on Syria had not left space for a negotiated solution to succeed, but a vacuum in which violations have intensified and the death toll to have reached 16,000.

Turkey and the United States have stepped into the breach in Geneva and it remains to be seen in the vote today, whether Tory-led Britain continues to ‘sit on the fence’ when the war criminals of Syria should be sitting in the dock.

 


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24 Responses to “Six EU countries support intervention in Syria – why isn’t the UK one of them?”

  1. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Six EU countries support intervention in Syria – why isn’t the UK one of… http://t.co/a5I3H4og

  2. Pete Brown

    Six EU countries support intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/A5ImG6xS

  3. Pulp Ark

    Six EU countries support intervention in Syria –… http://t.co/quIVYSXB #MultilateralForeignPolicy #DavidCameron #Syria #muslim #tcot #sioa

  4. Clive Burgess

    Six EU countries support intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/A5ImG6xS

  5. Selohesra

    Perhaps because we are not the world police and do not have the resources to go interfering in more foreign countries affairs. Are the lives of our troops lost in Iraq & Afganistan fighting other peoples wars not enough for you?

  6. Political Planet

    Six EU countries support intervention in Syria – why isn’t the UK one of them?: Tory-led Britain continues to 's… http://t.co/hGUYZQRk

  7. Samuel Kaine Wheeler

    If Mr Howitt wishes to get on a plane to Lebanon, buy a gun, cross the border and join the anti-Assad militia he may do so. Indeed, I would applaud his courage. However, if what he wants is other people’s kids to risk their lives and spend their parent’s money to assuage his sense of guilt, at that point we part ways.

  8. Tony Jones

    Six EU countries support intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/A5ImG6xS

  9. belgravedave

    Totally agree with you Samuel, if Mr Howitt feels so strongly about this he should hop on a plane to Turkey and sign up to one of the Free Syrian Army training camps, where he’ll receive the best training oil can buy from the CIA (torture included?). Don’t worry about finances the Saudis will pay for everything.

  10. StevieB

    Left Foot Forward onto the face of another Muslim country. Iraq – 1 million dead, 4 million refugees, economy destroyed. Afghanistan – 10’s of thousands dead, generalised poverty, utterly corrupt government after 10 years occupation. Libya – collapse of central government, 30,000 dead, sectarian militias, destruction of infrastructure, ethnic cleansing of sub-Saharan Africans. And NATO’s promise for Syria is ……?

  11. Richard Howitt MEP

    Six EU countries support intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/A5ImG6xS

  12. Richard Howitt MEP

    “@leftfootfwd: Six EU countries support ICC intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/ADIpuE19

  13. nigel robinson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Six EU countries support intervention in Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? http://t.co/uVLV1MAu

  14. Anonymous

    I remember just after the bloodbath at Srebrenica being asked to comment on the ‘lack of Western intervention’ in the Bosnian conflict for the Today programme for R4, as i made my way home from a nightshift. I was too weary to string-a-sentence together, so i declined, but i have always been left with a sense of shame that as a citizen of this country i had such DISTANCE from anything ‘difficult’…hell, i couldn’t even be bothered to express an opinion…nevermind ACT.
    Yes, the lines between righteousness and self-centred fiddling have been blurred to such a point where no-one really knows anymore who are the ‘good guys’ and who the ‘bad’, but i still think that simply sitting-by and doing NOTHING when innocents are being slaughtered is NEVER the morally-right thing to do.

  15. Robert CP

    Six EU countries support intervention in #Syria – why isn't the UK one of them? asks @RichardHowitt: http://t.co/A5ImG6xS

  16. Anonymous

    I agree. We should be working for a diplomatic solution that involves Assad leaving power peacefully. I am not convinced that the opposition is much better than the current regime.

  17. Anonymous

    So we should keep pissing into the wind while people are slaughtered?

    Oh wait, I’m talking about ATOS. About Syria…

  18. Richard Howitt MEP

    Slightly cheeky headline from @LeftFootFwd on @RichardHowitt's #Syria comment. About ICC 'intervention', not military: http://t.co/pVmBMLzn

  19. Anonymous

    Yes, until people like you suggest a sensible alternative. Who do you want to bomb? Who do you want to arm? To be blunt, how many innocent Syrians do you want to kill and maim?

  20. Anonymous

    Yea, you keep standing up for simply torturing those Syrians. Wait, no, the Syrian government is into mass-murder as well. Keep propping them up!

  21. Anonymous

    What is your sensible alternative?

  22. Anonymous

    Limited intervention. There is a moral imperative to act against slaughter, if it’s Gadaffi, Assad or ATOS.

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