RONAN L TYNAN
I wrote in a letter published yesterday in the Sunday Times (July 22, 2019) that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney let Ireland down in lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council in Moscow promising Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov more trade and apparent silence on the country’s many international crimes from Ukraine to almost daily crimes against humanity in Syria bombing hospitals and targeting civilians in Idlib to keep the Syrian regime in power. But worse still in the same paper a headline under scored just how far Mr Coveney seems prepared to go to secure that seat – “Coveney avoids Uighur topic with Chinese dignitary” – referring to the fact that China has interned over a million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps and the “dignitary” in question was responsible for building these camps when head of Xinjiang province.
Russia and China do not respect human rights and their Presidents show contempt for democracy and the rule of law. Indeed, Putin recently went so far as to imply that liberal democracy and human rights were outdated concepts. Against that background how could Simon Coveney seriously lobby the support of these powers for a seat on the Security Council when the price clearly implies silence and complicity in their crimes against international law and none more egregious than Russia’s almost daily crimes against humanity in Syria?
A good illustration of just how dangerous this Russia China axis on the Security Council has become was well illustrated when President Putin’s ambassador, backed by his Chinese counter part, vetoed referring Syria to the International Criminal Court with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria describing the Assad regime as engaged in a policy of “extermination” against civilians, and Amnesty stated one of the regime’s most notorious torture prisons is ‘a human slaughter house.”
Some estimates suggest as many as six hundred thousands have been killed in Syria since the peaceful uprising in 2011; more than half the population have been forced to flee their homes with six million internally displaced and almost the same number are refugees outside the country. Meanwhile, the Assad regime so terrifies most refugees they will not go home, not least with reports that some returnees have been tortured, imprisoned or forcibly disappeared and some dying under torture. At the same time the regime has confiscated the property of many refugees enriching some of its major supporters underlining its quite brutal and unscrupulous crony capitalist nature. And most significantly the regime is responsible for over 92% of civilian casualties with many accusing Assad of using ISIS atrocities as a cover for its own industrial level of depravity on a vast scale that making it by far the biggest and worst human rights abuser in Syria.
Does Simon Coveney’s campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council imply normalising the reign of terror by Russia in Syria and China in Xinjiang? Indeed, to say the Minister has “let Ireland down” which I wrote in the Sunday Times seems like an understatement? The real crime in lobbying despotic regimes is to send a clear message that egregious abuses and unimaginable depravities need not upset our relationship implying so ‘normal’ unworthy of outrage!
Please Minister Coveney do not seek to normalise crimes against humanity in my name.
Ronan L Tynan is Director of the multi award winning ‘Syrian – The Impossible Revolution’ and co-founder with Anne Daly of Esperanza Productions:
Web site: http://www.esperanza.ie