Syria: Refugees risk mass returns to war following Astana ‘de-escalation’ proposal

5 May 2017, 09:21 UTC | Syria

In response to news of a Russian-brokered proposal for “de-escalation zones” in Syria signed by Turkey and Iran today and welcomed by the Syrian government, Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research at the Beirut regional office said:

“Countries hosting Syrian refugees must not mistake this proposal for an opportunity to return those seeking refuge on their territories back into Syria.”

“Countries hosting Syrian refugees must not mistake this proposal for an opportunity to return those seeking refuge on their territories back into Syria.” 

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Director of Research at the Beirut regional office

“The conflict in Syria continues to rage on, and people continue to be killed, tortured and arbitrarily detained every day. Refugees have a right under international law to be protected from being forcibly returned to their country for as long as they are genuinely at risk of serious human rights violations. States hosting refugees have an obligation not to forcibly return Syrian refugees to Syria where their lives and freedoms would be at risk.”

“Nor should the “de-escalation zones” be used to justify countries closing their borders and denying people fleeing conflict and persecution the right to seek asylum.”

The proposal, first announced on 3 May, was refused by the Syrian opposition who consequently pulled out of the Russian-brokered peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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