A leading Syrian rights group Monday called on the international community to reject next month’s presidential elections because they will take place under the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, who is implicated in war crimes.
Paris-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, describing the elections as a sham, said the vote was scheduled by Assad’s government in violation of a UN-supported path toward a political resolution to the decade-old war.
According to the 2015 resolution, presidential elections should take place only after drafting a new constitution that allows for a free and competitive vote.
“What is the point then of a (UN-backed) political track?” said the rights group’s director, Fadel Abdul-Ghany. “The regime has totally torpedoed the UN Security Council resolution. The world must stress these elections are illegitimate.”
The election will be the second since the country’s civil war broke out 10 years ago. It is to be held May 26 with Syrians abroad voting May 20.
The rights group noted that international investigators have found that Assad and his forces have committed war crimes against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons on several occasions.
Continued crimes against Syrians
Since Assad was elected to his last seven year term in 2014, nearly 48,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in the conflict, including more than 8,000 children. More than 44,000 are still forcibly disappeared, according to SNHR, which shares its data with the U.N.
So far, over two dozen candidates have applied to compete in next month’s elections. Abdul-Ghany said none of them represents real competition for Assad. According to the 2012 constitution, candidates must have lived in Syria for the last 10 years, which effectively bars any opposition candidate from running against him. It also requires that parliament — stacked with members of Assad’s ruling party — approve those eligible to run.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.