3 Things G20 Leaders Can Do Now For Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes US President Barack Obama at the start of the G20 summit on September 5, 2013 in Saint Petersburg. Photo ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Easing the suffering of millions of civilians affected by Syria’s ongoing armed conflict must be a top priority for world leaders meeting at the G20 Summit in St Petersburg.

The G20 is made up of some of the world’s wealthiest countries and includes states with strong ties to each of the sides in Syria’s armed conflict.

Working together, these powerful countries can and must come up with a plan of action to ease the current humanitarian crisis.

Working together, these powerful countries can and must come up with a plan of action to ease the current humanitarian crisis.

Although Syria is not on the official agenda of the two-day summit hosted by Russia, it is expected to feature prominently in the talks as the USA and other nations consider launching a military intervention against the Syrian government following allegations it used internationally banned chemical weapons.

Millions of people have already been displaced in Syria or have fled abroad, creating a humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen in recent history. G20 leaders must not squander this opportunity to work together to try and prevent yet further escalation of this appalling crisis.

Since the G20 includes all five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, the current conference could be used as a stepping stone to action at that level. Russia, the current G20 host, and China have blocked three previous UN Security Council resolutions calling for the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Syrian crisis has put the global governance system to the ultimate test. The G20 and UN Security Council must now prove they are equipped to deal with the challenges we are facing.

Future generations will hold us to account for the failures of today.

Here are three things G20 leaders must do now to ease the suffering:

  1. Take urgent steps to ease the dire humanitarian situation inside the country. They should ensure that all parties to the armed conflict in Syria allow unfettered access to humanitarian organizations and agencies so the civilian population receives needed assistance, without discrimination. In the case of the Syrian government, this includes granting cross-border access, as well as cross-line access.
  2. Step up efforts to assist refugees, to ease the strain on Syria’s neighbours in order to assist and protect the more than 2 million men, women and children who have fled the conflict. All countries hosting asylum-seekers and refugees from Syria must ensure that their borders stay open to all persons fleeing the conflict in Syria, and that none are forcibly returned.
  3. Accept a shared responsibility to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law committed in Syria. This includes using the principle of universal jurisdiction to bring those responsible to justice before national courts in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty. Amnesty International also believes that the situation in Syria should be referred to the ICC.

Read more about Amnesty International’s response to the Syria crisis.

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9 thoughts on “3 Things G20 Leaders Can Do Now For Syria

  1. Here are three things G20 leaders must do now to ease the suffering:
    1. Take urgent steps to ease the dire humanitarian situation inside the country.
    2. Step up efforts to assist refugees.
    3. Accept a shared responsibility to investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity and other crimes under international law committed in Syria.

  2. The "America" should ,need to be ………more responsible………..more mature……..not repeat ,a new destructive mistake like, ………IRAQ ,war incident.

  3. On #3, anything on how international pressure can be brought to bear on Russia to separate them from the Assad government? In an interview on Russian television Putin said he could support American strikes if the US proves Assad is responsible for the chemical attacks. That's a step in the right and the wrong direction at the same time. If we want Russia to step aside, send Syria to the ICC and Assad to the Hague what can be done? Jeopardizing the Olympics, choking off business investment in Russia, charges for breaching arms trade agreements by continuing to trade weapons to Assad, concessions by the Syrian opposition leadership, a good old fashioned payoff? We have to get specific about what can be done to move Russia's position on Syria. Just hoping Putin eventually sees the light isn't getting it done.

  4. I don't think you care about the Syrian people. The terrorist who you support in Syria used the chemical weapon.The Blinds know now but you don't know. This is funny. And without UN investigation completed you want to attack to the Syria. And USA killed Osama Bin Laden. And now USA supports Al-Qaeda terrorist. I'm asking a question: Why USA killed Osama.Because of USA doesn't need Osama anymore.But now USA needs new Osama. And of course because of Snowden.The people must forget about SNOWDEN. USA needs new actiona nd new Hollywood movie. We have seen this scenario in Iraq. The biggest terror Country is the USA.

  5. Who started this Civil War and why? If we knew that we might have a clue as to how to stop it
    Just sending in drones, missiles and aircraft will only make an unstable nation of warring Muslim groups more unstable, threaten the peace of the region and risk starting World War Three as a result of which billions may die, This Summit is supposed to be about solving the problems of the world economy not wasting time on a nation of a few million warring fanatics. If the world economy collapses again billions will suffer debt, homelessness, starvation and premature death

  6. Bandits and warlords can never make peace.
    No matter if they call themselves G20, Security Council or whatever, they are still just bandits and warlords fighting for power and resources. Unless the basic attitudes of our "World Leaders" changes these wars like in Syria will continue to be just small manouvres in The Neverending War for Total World Domination.