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Rights group seeks Arab action on Syria

world Updated: Oct 17, 2011 01:29 IST

AFP
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A coalition of 121 Arab and international rights groups on Sunday urged the Arab League to take action on Syria to prevent it from sliding into civil war as the organisation prepared to meet in Cairo.

“The Arab League can ramp up the diplomatic and economic pressure to help end the crackdown and prevent Syria from descending into civil war now “ said Alice Jay campaign director of Avaaz a signatory of their joint statement.

“For months Syria s brutal President (Bashar al-)Assad has waged war on his own people “ Jay said two days after the United Nations said the death toll in Syria has exceeded 3000 since anti-regime protests broke out in mid-March.

In the letter signed by 121 rights organisations from across the Arab world and abroad activists called on the Arab League “to be on the right side of history” and fill the region s “leadership vacuum.”They urged the League to step up diplomatic pressure on the Syrian regime by suspending its membership of the League downgrading diplomatic missions in Damascus and backing action at the UN Security Council.The statement came as Arab foreign ministers were to meet at League headquarters in Cairo to discuss the deadly crackdown on dissent in Syria at the request of the Gulf monarchies.It called on Arab leaders to isolate the Syrian regime economically “as long as the crackdown continues”.