Syrian regime attends INTERPOL general assembly in Istanbul

Syria’s participation comes after INTERPOL lifted corrective measures against the state in October, angering human rights activists.

General Assembly resolutions failed to address activists’ concerns about INTERPOL’s empowerment of autocratic regimes [Getty]

Syria participated this week in INTERPOL’s three-day General Assembly in Istanbul, where member states voted on new resolutions for the global police body.

Syria’s presence comes after INTERPOL lifted corrective measures against the state in October, giving it access to the organization’s communications networks. Human rights activists have expressed fear over the move, warning that Damascus could abuse INTERPOL’s policing tools, such as Red Notices, to prosecute dissidents abroad.

INTERPOL is an international police organization dedicated to facilitating transnational cooperation to fight crime, especially against children, as well as human and drug trafficking.

The organization is made up of 195 member states that meet once a year to vote on resolutions which will then be executed by a senior executive committee, a 13-member body.

The organization has been beset with accusations that it is being used by despotic governments to punish political opponents, despite INTERPOL’s stated commitment to be apolitical. The tool that has aroused the most ire within INTERPOL is the red notice.

Member States can issue Red Notices for individuals, which are similar to international arrest warrants on which other Member States can choose to act. Red Notices go through a review process before being published, but many critics say the process is deeply flawed, pointing to abuses by states like Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

States can also issue “broadcasts” which are the same as Red Notices, except that they are issued directly from countries to other INTERPOL member states, instead of going through the organization’s General Secretariat. Broadcasts also do not have to go through a review process before being published.

The organization sparked controversy and condemnation from human rights bodies after it elected Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, a UAE military general accused of torture, to be its next president.

This year’s General Assembly passed several resolutions, including the successful admission of Micronesia to the organization. However, the resolutions adopted failed to enact reforms responding to criticisms of abuse.

“The 89th General Assembly did not adopt any reform regarding its appeals mechanism; all the flaws in the mechanism have still not been corrected, ”said Yuriy Nemets, a Washington DC-based lawyer specializing in representing victims of INTERPOL abuse. The new Arabic.

“The already tight budget of the INTERPOL File Control Commission [meant to protect victims of INTERPOL abuse] has remained virtually unchanged, despite the fact that the Commission reported an increase in its workload, ”Nemets said.

Nemets added that although the General Assembly made a point of adopting certain reforms to make the election of the president of the organization more transparent and to adopt a code of conduct for the body, the election of ‘al-Raisi is worrying.

“Not only is the UAE known to have abused INTERPOL, but the vote for Al Raisi came despite serious allegations made against him and the country’s regime in the media,” he said.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock noted on November 25, that the organization is “very determined to apply our rules and standards to ensure that every piece of information complies with rules and regulations and human rights standards.” He also assured reporters that INTERPOL strives to stay out of politics and not be complicit in abuses committed by member countries.

At the opening of this week’s General Assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expected “strong solidarity” and cooperation from INTERPOL in extraditing “terrorists. “gulenists.

Erdogan has long accused Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar believed to be opposed to Erdogan, of being behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. He continuously asked the United States to extradite Gulen from his residence in Pennsylvania to Turkey, which the United States refused.

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