Nineteen Syrian human rights and monitoring organisations have raised concerns about the resumption of cooperation between the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and the Syrian regime. The decision, say the groups, has created fear among Syrians inside and outside their country.
Although Interpol is "politically neutral" and is keen not to harm those wanted for political reasons, the organisations said on Tuesday that the Assad regime and its security agencies and judiciary are able to circumvent this simply by not recognising the presence of political opponents and civil or media activists.
"Since the start of the popular uprising in Syria," the joint statement pointed out, "the state agencies have been classifying such opponents and activists, including those who work in humanitarian and medical relief, as terrorists and wanted criminals."
The organisations called on Interpol to recognise the possibility of the Syrian regime abusing its membership of the international body to issue international arrest warrants for political, rather than criminal, reasons. A copy of the joint statement has been sent to Interpol.