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Panel 10: "Intentions and Interests: Human Rights, Sovereignty, and the Syrian Civil War"

Jameson, Chandler T.
According to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria, somewhere around 89,000 people have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since March of 2011. Of this number nearly 64% of these deaths were civilians caught in the middle between the Rebel Forces and the Regime. As the violence has escalated, both sides have started to do away with any regard towards human rights. The government has deployed the use of both conventional and chemical weapons to devastating effect upon the population, indiscriminately firing artillery shells into neighborhoods. The Rebels have increasingly turned to Islamist ideology and organizations for support and inspiration. Both sides of the conflict have committed horrendous war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the course of the war the international community has been largely silent. While the rhetoric of human rights was used to justify air strikes in Libya; the United States was silent about Syria and the European Union declared an embargo on weapons sales to Syria for either side. Only in recent months, after the chemical attacks in Damascus in August of 2013, has the rhetoric of human rights actually appeared amongst the world governments. What I propose to analyze is how the rhetoric of human rights has (or has not) played into the development of this war, how foreign nations have (or have not) interfered. And while I will focus upon the silence of world governments, I will also look into the ongoing efforts of NGOs and other interested parties in the development of this war.
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