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UN should take stronger measures in Syria – lawyer

Tanks and security forces have reportedly moved into the central Syrian city of Homs and the southern town of Tafas, making arrests along the way. One human rights group claims 800 people have been killed since the uprising began almost two months ago.
­“I think it is time for the UN to take stronger measures,” says the president of the Arab Lawyers Association, Sabah al-Mukhtar. “That stance shouldn’t be trying to penalize, but rather trying to mediate and finding a way out, and to try and resolve the dispute.”Officials blame armed terrorist groups for the unrest, while protesters say they want an end to decades of repression and corruption.On the back of further US sanctions, the EU has also agreed a freeze on assets and a travel ban for top Syrian officials.“Everybody is talking about taking human rights protection measures. But in fact the Western countries clearly – Europe, generally speaking, and the US and Britain particularly – are actually looking after their own national interests under the pretext of protecting human rights,” says Sabah al-Mukhtar . “I think these measures, which are now being peddled every now and then through the UN and outside the UN, whereby the UN and international community are being reduced from international organizations to a domestic police authority, whereby you begin to freeze the assets of individuals. Sometimes the individuals don’t actually have assets. It is a gimmick which is being used in most instances, and this gimmick in fact is counterproductive because it just makes noises, but is does not have any affect. I think it is discredited.”  According to Sabah al-Mukhtar, Western countries are trying to show that they support the protesters, whether it is Libya or Syria, while at the same time maintaining their links with the regimes.“They are really playing both hands and telling both sides that they are with them. It certainly is not the way to deal with international conflicts,” says Sabah al-Mukhtar.