Presbyterians for Middle East Peace calls on all people of faith and in particular the Presbyterian Church (USA) to condemn Syria's escalating violence and repression directed against its people. The international community and our faith based institutions can no longer remain silent.
To date, in the last 8 months, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations estimate that over 3500 people have been killed by the Syrian government acting through the Syrian military and security services. We have seen compelling evidence of arbitrary executions, excessive use of force, including but not limited to arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, indiscriminate use of snipers at peaceful protests and funerals, the systematic persecution of protesters and human rights defenders, as well as numerous instances of crimes against children.
Two weeks ago Human Rights Watch officially accused the Assad regime of "crimes against humanity."
Yesterday, in an unprecedented move, the Arab League approved major economic sanctions against Syria. The League took this action after Syria failed to accept a League deadline to allow hundreds of observers into the country as part of a peace agreement Syria accepted earlier this month to end the crisis.
The United States and the European Union have already imposed significant sanctions against Syria.
Last week the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn "continued grave and systemic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities."
As Prime Minister Recep Erdogan of Turkey stated last week: the time has come for President Bashar Assad to step down for the welfare of his own people. The time has also come to implement the Arab League peace plan: to pull all troops from Syria's cities and open the country to the Arab League observer mission to monitor and promote observance of human rights.
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