FRESH scenes of the horrific slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria have emerged as violence in the Middle Eastern country spirals out of control.The images show tearful children sobbing over the bloodied bodies of relatives killed in another massacre carried out by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. In the most recent atrocity it was claimed that pro-regime militia killed 12 factory workers on Thursday after forcing them off a bus in the village of Qusair7277050144_cec7c42f7e_b

Video footage released by Assad’s opponents showed the disfigured bodies of at least a dozen victims who were shot in the head or stomach at close range. It follows the slaughter of more than 100 civilians, including 49 children, in Houla last week. Syria’s most important ally, Russia, has again refused to support moves that could lead to foreign intervention.

Last Thursday, a Syrian goverernment investigation into the killings blamed armed rebel groups seeking to trigger foreign military interventon. The claim was dismissed by US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice, as a ” BLATANT LIE ” !


United Nations Human Rights Council logo.
United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

Amnesty International Ireland has welcomed a number of key commitments to protect human rights made by the Irish Government at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

The Irish Government was replying to 50 of the 127 recommendations made by the council in October to improve human rights in Ireland.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, addressed the UN Human Rights Council following the statement by Ambassador Gerard Corr, Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

The Government today committed to signing the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women.

Colm O’Gorman said: “We warmly welcome decisions to sign these treaties that should strengthen human rights in Ireland, and that will help fight violence against women.

“We hope the Government will quickly sign these treaties, and then move to ratify them to ensure the fullest possible protection for people living here.

Regarding Ireland’s agreeing to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Mr O’Gorman said:

“There is no excuse for the five-year delay since Ireland signed this treaty on enforced disappearances. Quickly ratifying the treaty is essential, both as an act of solidarity with the disappeared around the world, but also if Ireland’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council is to have its best chance of success.”


Amnesty International Ireland welcomed Ambassador Corr’s statement that Ireland would provide the council with an interim progress report but was critical of the refusal of the Irish Government to fully accept some recommendations.

Colm O’Gorman said: “While there was some good news today, we are disappointed that the Government failed to fully accept the recommendation to put housing and health rights into Irish law.

“The severe funding cuts in these areas makes it all the more necessary to put these rights in law to protect the most vulnerable. We are calling on the Government to ensure ways of doing this are examined by the Constitutional Convention.”

The organisation also noted the Government’s disappointing response to recommendations on Traveller ethnicity and corporal punishment of children, and the failure to address the abuse suffered by women and girls in the Magdalene laundries.


Today’s session in Geneva concludes the examination of Ireland by the UN Human Rights Council under a system known as Universal Periodic Review.

Under this method the human rights record of every UN member state is examined once every four years by their peers.

In October 2011, the UN Human Rights Council, after examining Ireland’s record, made 127 recommendations for improvement. The Government accepted most of those recommendations and was today responding to 50 it agreed to look at in greater detail. Of these, Ireland fully accepted 29, partially accepted a further 17 and rejected four.

Read Amnesty International Ireland’s response to the UN Human Rights Council.

Syrian envoy to UN: External parties seek to disintegrate Syria

Syrian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui
The Syrian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, says “external parties” are fueling the crisis in Syria and seek to disintegrate the Middle Eastern state.

“The crisis is not due to peaceful protests or demands for reform. The crisis is due to the influence of external parties bent on afflicting my country, waging a media war against Syria and imposing economic sanctions against the Syrian people,” Hamui said in a UN Human Rights Council session on Monday.

“Civil war is being ignited … this is a prelude to partition of Syria, this is the aim of Israel and those supporting the endeavor, the prolonged colonization of Arab territories,” he told the session.

The Syrian envoy’s remarks came in response to a UN Human Rights Council’s report on the Syrian crisis, which blamed the Syrian government for the crisis in the country.

Upon Hamoui’s speech at the session, the head of the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, said that supplying arms to the Syrian opposition is not the correct.

Pinheiro said that a negotiated settlement to end the violence is the only way out of the impasse.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March and many people, including security forces, have lost their lives in the violence.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing the protesters. But Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.



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Samouni Project Convoy To Gaza ( ONGOING )

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01 June at 15:00 – 01 July at 18:00

From Londonto Gaza


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A convoy of vehicles to carry school equipment and aid to Gaza for the Samouni Community Classroom. If you can help in any way with fund raising & promoting this event in your community…Items/Materials/Support sought immediately;1) A UK based coordinator to facilitate this project, this is a volunteer job.

2) A mechanic or someone very good with vehicles that can travel to Retford, Nottinghamshire, in order to make sure the vehicle is sound and as purchased.3) We need the vehicle MOT’d and taxed by hopefully the same person above.4) Costs covered to put vinyl graphics on the bus, such as the Samouni Project logo as well as the logos of our sponsors.5) Costs for food, fuel, tax, MOT, and insurance for the drive to Gaza.6) Sponsors; we seek sponsors from unions, organizations, Mosques, community and Palestine Solidarity groups. We propose a minimum donation of £100 to become a sponsor, but anything will help so we encourage everyone no matter what you can contribute.

7) We will need at least two or three drivers who will have to sleep in or just outside the bus in order to ensure security.

8) More Vehicles: if we can get a couple more vehicles, possibly even a bus that can carry the whole family in Gaza, which would be great. There are good deals on vehicles and maybe people will have a vehicle or two that they would like to donate to the family, a work van would be ideal, but any working vehicle will be extremely valuable to the family.

9) Computers: Ideally we will bring 12 desktop computers, mouse, keyboard, computer speakers and if possible, 12 laptop computers so each household will also have something in their home.

10) Office Chairs – 12 is perfect.

11) Webcams with Microphone Headsets for Skype calling.

12) Laser Jet Printer/Copy/Fax/Scanner with refill ink cartridges.

13) Laminating Machine with lamination sheets.

14) Digital Cameras, the more the better, all the kids love cameras.

15) LCD Projector and screen.

16) Small generator, big enough to power a small home.

17) A nice Globe for teaching.

18) Large World Map for wall.

19) Quality books with emphasis on education, history, science, etc. English is great, but if people have Arabic language books as well, that will be fantastic.

20) We hope to bring 50 English teaching books which we already have a teacher to teach with, here is the link to the book we need;

21) We are looking for a carpenter to build Custom Bookcase and deliver to London very soon.

22) If a carpenter can work right away, we can give dimensions and precut some material for long desktops to be used for the computers and classroom.

23) Lighting, good quality lighting, LED’s lighting would be ideal so the electricity consumption is low. But we want something other than fluorescent lights, something warm and nice to read and learn with.

24) Musical instruments, if you have an instrument that you can give for these children to experiment with and play; this will be a beautiful contribution. Does somebody have a Piano?

25) Office supplies, paper, paper clips, notebooks, pens, pencils (coloured as well), markers, pencil sharpener, etc.

26) Arts & Crafts of all sorts.

27) Puppets and educational toys.

28) A telescope, this has been asked for, would be great.

29) Tiles to lay on the floor, this is roughly a 10×15 metre space.

Items that would be good to bring now as well;

1) Blankets.

2) Clothes.

3) Kids football shoes.

4) Anything of value that might be useful.

If you have or are willing to purchase any of these items then please do so and email me at (please put ‘Samouni Project’ in the subject field). If you can provide a service, volunteer to drive to Gaza or be a coordinator then again, please email me.

The following are not likely to be arranged immediately, but maybe, you never know. But even if we cannot get these things now, I would like people to know of our longer-term goals and start looking around for ways to make this happen as well.

Supporting Independence for the family; long-term items sought;

1) We would bring a machine that can process Tomatoes into sauce. The Samouni family are farmers and if they had an industrial machine of this type they would be able to really get back on their feet and be independent soon. I will get more details of the exact type of machine that would be ideal tomorrow, if you think you can help with this then message me please.

2) A loom, an industrial loom that would allow the family to make Kuffiyeh’s, if we do this I am sure the family will have a real income with exported Kuffiyeh’s, made in Gaza, with the Samouni Family brand on it.

3) Building materials to make a small factory/warehouse.

And last, something that would just be wonderful for the entire family, especially the boys;

1) 1) The materials to build a 5 on 5 football pitch, the cement for the foundation, the padding and artificial grass, the walls, goals, bleachers, lighting for night time play.

I am already planning to make a video with the kids inviting FC Barcelona to come out this summer and do a football camp. I am making it clear to the kids that there are no guarantees, but if we try, we have a good chance of getting a result.

I would like to say to everyone reading this just one thing. If we really care, we will make this next phase happen and we will do so within a couple of weeks. We can do anything we set our minds to and what is asked for to make this project happen is completely doable. We all have something to offer, the question is what do you have to offer?

To my Muslim and Arab brothers and sisters, the Samouni’s are your direct family; please make this project happen now. As a community, you alone could make this happen within a week.

Love and respect to everyone who is helping with this, you are blessing yourself big time by contributing, believe me I know this all too well.


Ken O’KeefeSee more

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