Permanent members of the Security Council that used their veto yesterday to block a binding resolution on Syria have utterly failed in their responsibilities to protect the Syrian people, Amnesty International said today.
"It is shocking that after more than six months of horrific bloodshed on the streets and in the detention centres of Syria, the governments of both Russia and China still felt able to veto what was already a seriously watered down resolution," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director.
"Those countries which ducked this decision by abstaining must also bear a heavy responsibility for allowing the brutal crackdown on legitimate dissent in Syria to continue unchecked."
"Attempt to justify this position by referring to the military intervention in Libya are utterly irresponsible. The Syrian people should not have to suffer because of political disagreements about the situation in a different country. Yesterday's veto was nothing short of a betrayal of the Syrian people."
Nine members of the Security Council voted in favour of the draft resolution, which condemned Syria's crackdown on protesters and left open the possibility of sanctions.
Permanent members Russia and China used their vetoes to prevent the resolution from being passed, while South Africa, India, Brazil and Lebanon abstained.
Amnesty International has continued to call on the UN Security Council to take stronger action on Syria, in particular: to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court; to impose an arms embargo on Syria; and to implement an asset freeze against President Bashar al-Assad and his senior associates.