INTERPOL reintegrates Syria into the information exchange network |
LYON – The international police organization INTERPOL announced Thursday that it has reintegrated Syria into its information exchange network, lifting restrictions imposed on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in 2012.
The restrictions were introduced in the context of international sanctions against Damascus for the regime’s abuses at the start of the Syrian civil war.
“In accordance with the recommendation of the headquarters of the General Secretariat, the executive committee of INTERPOL has approved the lifting of the corrective measures applied to Syria,” said a statement from Interpol.
This decision means that Damascus can directly receive and send messages from other INTERPOL country offices. These access rights had been suspended since 2012.
The statement pointed out that it was incorrect to state that Syria had been readmitted to INTERPOL because it had been a member since its first accession in 1953.
The recommendation to lift the “corrective measures” was made following close monitoring of messages from INTERPOL’s Syrian national office, he said.
Individual INTERPOL country offices still have the power to decide which other countries to share information with, the statement said.
He added that Syria does not have the power, as a member state, to issue international “red notice” arrest warrants, although it can, like any member state, ask the general secretariat to ‘INTERPOL to do so.
All requests are subject to a thorough compliance review, he added.
Despite these assurances, INTERPOL’s decision to allow Syria access to information networks has raised concern among some activists.
Human Rights Watch researcher in Syria, Sara Kayyali, described it on Twitter as a “dangerous development” claiming that “despite claims to the contrary” there was a history of red notices misused by “repressive governments to make arrests for political reasons ”.
The French foreign ministry also refused to approve this decision.
“As long as the Syrian regime continues to fuel instability, the humanitarian crisis and the terrorist risk, France will remain opposed to the normalization of relations with Damascus and any relaxation of the sanctions regime,” he said in a press release, adding Paris. would reaffirm this position at the Interpol general assembly next month.