Syrian Network for Human Rights: Syrian People’s Casualties Exceeds 15,000

Syrian Network for Human Rights: Syrian People’s Casualties Exceeds 15,000

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) observe rigorous documentation standards to verify each piece of information by seeking testimonies from two people, who do not know one another, before it is included in the casualties’ record.

Syrian citizens killed by the Syrian regime; from the start of the revolution on 18 March 2011 until 16 June 2012

  • Confirmed death toll (documented by name): 15,163
  • Children: 1,114
  • Women: 957
  • Killed under torture: 579

Victims killed by the Syrian regime, throughout the duration of the suspended UN observers’ mission, between 12 of April 2012 and 16 June 2012

  • Total figure of victims documented by name: 3,087
  • Children: 277
  • Women: 193
  • Under torture: 137


Statistics and information provided by Syrian Network for Human Rights and Damascus Center for Human Rights  Studies.  For further information, please see:

Syrian Network for Human Rights – Confirmed Death Toll Report – 19 June 2012

Syrian Network for Human Rights – UN Observers’ Death Toll Report – 19 June 2012

US Religious Groups Call on the U.S. Congress to Impose Magnitsky Sanctions

Press Release
Hermitage Capital

18 June 2012 – A number of US religious organizations from different denominations have called on the U.S. Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act. The leaders of nine US religious organisations have written to members of Congress urging the swift passage of the Magnitsky Act in its current form. In their letter, they point out that the Magnitsky Act gives the United States an important and effective policy tool to address serious human rights abuses around the world.

“It is one thing to talk about the human rights and religious freedoms and quite another to actually do something about it. Because of the well thought out terms of this legislation, we believe that this bill will become an effective lever that the United States will have in dealing with this pernicious and growing problem of human rights abuses around the world,” said the religious groups in their joint letter.

“Magnitsky’s sacrifice will hopefully lead to an important and new method for fighting human rights abuses which could have a dramatic effect everywhere,” said the letter.

The letter is signed by religious groups of various faiths and denominations, including the Action for Post-Soviet Jewry, the Union of Councils for Jews in the former Soviet Union, American Islamic Congress, Hindu American Foundation, International Institute for Religious Freedom, Church of Scientology, United Macedonian Diaspora, Partners for a Progressive Israel, and Human Rights Law Foundation, as well as prominent figures in the field of religious freedom.

“As representatives of a wide number of religions and faiths across the United States, we do everything possible to make sure that all people can practice their faith around the world without restriction or interference. For this reason, we strongly support the passage of the ‘Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act’,” says the letter.

Under the Magnitsky Act currently in front of the U.S. Congress, visa bans and asset freezes will be imposed on those involved in the torture of 37-year old whistle-blowing lawyer and the corruption he had uncovered in Russia, as well on those who kill, torture and otherwise repress the defenders of freedoms of religion, expression, association and assembly and of the right to a fair trial and democratic elections.

“Coming to America is a privilege and not a right, and when foreign officials are involved in torture, murder, restrictions of religious freedom or other human rights abuses, they should have that privilege taken away. We believe that this law would not only create an effective punishment for people who have violated human rights, but also a powerful deterrent for people not to do these things in the future,” says the religious freedom activists.

“As discussions on the Magnitsky bill progress in the U.S. Congress, we are seeing more and more outpouring of support for this legislation inspired by the courage and dignity of a young Russian man who gave his life for his belief in truth and justice,” said a Hermitage Capital representative.


For further information please contact:
Hermitage Capital
Phone:              +44 207 440 17 77
Twitter:             @KatieFisher__

Puerto Rico Police Accused of Human Rights Violations, Police Brutality

By Stuart Smith
Impunity Watch, North America

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The American Civil Liberties Union, in a June 2012 report, lambasted the Puerto Rico Police Department, the second-largest municipal police force in the United States, asserting that “the police force is plagued by a culture of violence and corruption.”

Puerto Rico Policia
Puerto Rican police clash with civilians. (Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press)

“These abuses do not represent isolated incidents or aberrant behavior by a few rogue officers. Such police brutality is pervasive and systematic, island-wide and ongoing,” the report stated. According to CNN and Fox News, the ACLU report alleged routine use of excessive force, failure by the PRPD to crack down on sexual assaults and violations of civil and human rights, particularly against low-income people, Puerto Ricans of African descent and Dominican immigrants.

Additionally, the Huffington Post reported that, from 2004 to 2010, nearly 27,400 complaints against police officers alleging misconduct were filed by civilian, causing the department to recommend the expulsion of 884 officers. And according to department statistics, 1,768 of those complaints alleged excessive or unjustified use of force.

Ruth Jimenez was among those who filed a complaint against the PRPD. When her son Jorge Polaco Jimenez was shot eight times by police officers, in October 2007, while unarmed, Ruth Jimenez filed a complaint with the PRPD, reported the Washington Post. Police maintain they acted in self-defense.

Yet, despite filing numerous complaints, she only recently obtained a received a copy of her son’s autopsy. “I have had zero answers. Zero,” she said in a phone interview. “I want the truth.”

In response to ACLU’s report, Fox News reported that Hector Pesquara, PRPD’s superintendent, in a radio interview, said that the report is not an accurate reflection of reality, proclaiming it to be incorrect and irresponsible.

However, reports of violence and corruption within the ranks of the PRPD are not new. The ACLU’s report comes nine months after a DOJ report describing similar abuses on the island and stating that “the path toward lasting reform will require nothing less than federal judicial intervention.”

Similarly, the ACLU report called on the PRPD to implement a series of reforms, including: developing and implementing policies on the use of force, creating comprehensive procedures for investigating allegations of police abuse and other civilian complaints, and taking measures to address the problems with policing of domestic and sexual violence.

The ACLU’s report, affirming the recommendation of the DOJ, also recommended that the Department of Justice, to ensure the full implementation of these reforms, take control of the PRPD.

Jennifer Turner, the ACLU human rights researcher who authored the report, explained, “there’s clearly no will by the police force there to change its ways,” reported Fox News. “There’s also no leadership in Puerto Rico that’s interested in effective and real reform. That’s why it’s so necessary for the Justice Department to act.”

For further information, please see:

Washington Post – ACLU accuses Puerto Rico police of excessive force and other abuses, urges US to take control – 19 June 2012

CNN – ACLU report blasts Puerto Rico Police Department – 19 June 2012

Fox News Latino – Puerto Rico Police Brutality Against Residents Remains Persistent, ACLU Says – 19 June 2012

Huffington Post – Puerto Rico Police Department Faces Human Rights Crisis Of ‘Epic Proportions’, According To ACLU – 19 June 2012

ACLU – Island of Impunity: Puerto Rico’s Outlaw Police Force Executive Summary – June 2012

Department of Justice – Investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department Executive Summary – 5 September 2011

Bangladesh Refuses Entry to Myanmar Refugees

By Jenna Furman
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

DHAKA, Bangladesh—Despite pleas from the United Nations and countries such as the United States, the Bangladesh Government has refused to grant assylum to recent Rohingya Muslim refugees escaping sectarian violence in Myanmar.

Rohingya Muslims fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar. (Photo Courtesy of LA Times)

“It is not in our interest that new refugees come from Myanmar,” Dipu Moni, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, stated at the capital, Dhaka, on Tuesday.

Border guards turned back an estimated 1,500 Rohingya refugees over the weekend after further violence broke out between the minority Rohingya Muslims and the majority Rakhine Buddhists.

Dipu Moni also cited a strain on resources as a reason for turning back boats traveling across the Naf river to the Bangladeshi border. Bangladesh already houses around 30,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees in two camps in Cox’s Bazaar.

Human Rights Watch refugee program director Bill Frelick stated,“Bangladesh has an obligation under international law to keep its border open to people fleeing threats to their lives.”

The UN refugee agency reported that boats transporting women, children and some wounded have been turned back even within reach  of locals trying  to give assistance to the refugees. The agency indicated that the refugees are in need of food and medical care.

However, Bangladesh emphasized that the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments are trying to “to ensure that developments in the Rakhine state do not have any trans-boundary spillover.”

Still, thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the fighting thought to have been sparked last month by the rape and murder of a Rakhine Buddhist woman followed by an attack on a bus carrying Rohingya Muslims, which left 10 people dead. Twenty-nine people are estimated to have died and many homes have been burnt to the ground in the western Rakhine region.

Myanmar President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency after rioting began a little over week ago in the town of Maung Daw which spread to the capital, Sittwe, and other nearby villages. The violence highlights the delicate nature of the relations between ethnic groups in Myanmar.

The Rohingya have been deemed a “stateless” group by both Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar views the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship while Bangladesh argues that the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for centuries and should be recognized as citizens.

According to The United Nations, Myanmar’s 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

For further information, please see:

NY Daily News – Violence Highlights Myanmar’s Sectarian Tension –  16 June 2012

Aljazeera – Bangladesh ‘Turns Back’ Myanmar Refugees – 15 June 2012

BBC News – UN Urges Bangladesh to Take in People Fleeing Burma Violence – 15 June 2012

Los Angeles Times – Bangladesh Rebuffs Pleas to Admit People Fleeing Myanmar Violence – 13 June 2012

Syrian Revolution Digest – Wednesday 20 June 2012



Updates from the Road (2)!