tv France 24 AM News LINKTV January 22, 2014 5:30am-6:01am PST
>> we will be talking to the head of human rights watch at the world economic forum in davos, any tree for all of you star wars fans. you will get a glimpse of storm troopers like you have never seen them before. straight to our top news stories on "france 24." are gathering just outside geneva for the most serious effort yet to end the bloodshed in syria. regime -- the syrian regime and opposition meeting for the first time since the start of the civil war. the opposition went into the conference with one aim,
toppling bashar al-assad but his regime says any talk of removing the president from office is a redline him on the cross. that lowered expectations going into the conference but many top leaders are saying just ringing the two sides together does show some progress is being made. today, u.s.emarks secretary of state john kerry underlines the fact it was no way syrian president bashar al-assad could be part of any transition government. saying his excessive use of violence against his people made him illegitimate. in his speech, the syrian foreign minister pointedly said no one but the syrians would decide if their president was legitimate or not. >> no one in the world has the right to give legitimacy or withdraw legitimacy from a , a government, constitution, a law or anything
in syria but syrians. this is the constitutional right of the syrian people. what will be agreed upon here, no matter what it is, will be subject to a referendum. we have a mandate to present the will of the people, not to determine their fate. >> we want to know if there are syrian partners in this room who would be able to -- stop being part of assad's the location and become an independent delegation like ours. i wouldn't call on this gem -- delegation to sign the geneva text for all of the powers will be transferred, including the executive, military, and judicial powers. this would be the stepping stone of a new syria. so my question is very clear -- do we have such a partner here today? for more i am joined by chief foreign editor robert parsons who is at the peace talks.
even those opening remarks today, it does not seem like anyone from any side of this conflict is ready to move. >> that is right. it is hard to imagine any place more idyllic than this, any place more removed from the violence in syria and more conducive to calm reflection but there was very little of that on display this morning. speakersly this repeated established positions, particularly the syrian side. the foreign minister of syria listed a range of accusations against opposition, including -- the united states to bomb syria, living it up in five-star hotels while syria burns, selling out to wahhabist and so one. from the opposition, although perhaps not quite so vitriolic but pretty much more of the same. no way, they were saying, could a deal be struck with a regime
and under no circumstances could a transitional government included bashar al-assad. what let's talk a little bit about that. if that is the case, one -- >> let's talk about that. if that is the case -- but other saying of course you will not even a transitional council. where will they go from here? >> i think it is generally accepted here that there will not be rapid progress. the ambitions for this conference are pretty low-key. main figures here are talking about progress on human toward human it -- humanitarian corridors, it's changes of prisoners and local cease-fires. it is except that i think that the idea of a transitional government has to be the ultimate aim, is not something that can be conceivably achieve debt this conference. speeches that we heard his money confirm that, if anybody had doubts before.
>> robert parsons reporting. after three years of conflict that left more than 100 -- 100,000 dead and millions displaced. despite attack of his regime, syrian president bashar al-assad seems to be holding all the cards. as mark thompson reports. >> some five months after he supposedly crossed a redline, syrian president bashar al-assad is still a man in control. as the world's top diplomats involved -- arrived in switzerland to discuss syria's future, in damascus only one topic on the table -- what it has called terrorism. >> we will not withdraw from discussions. we are here and we will participate in the dialogue here evidence that concerns terrorism in relation to the opposition and some opposition figures with organized terror. >> although the assad regime started the term terrorist when
protests were largely peaceful, islamist factions have since come to dominate much of the fighting on the ground. they are looking to take advantage of the instability to form a new islamic state. the government faces opposition from hundreds of militant factions in the country, but also exile clinical groups from abroad. many of them received the backing from other countries in the region, including qatar and saudi arabia. while divisions continue to play syrian opposition, the financial and military support of longtime alleys like iran -- >> in any battle there is always a possibility of winning and losing. when you are defending your country, it is clear that the only choices to win. had lost this battle it would have been the spread of chaos throughout the middle east and >> only 20% of the population have been forced to flee their homes since the start
of the fighting -- almost 20%. aid agencies say 6 million people are indicted in need of food. but with the assad regime focused on staying in charge, the pressure is on the international community to find a solution to the crisis. >> to the ukraine where three people have been killed in violent clashes. those deaths are likely to stoke more anger against the government. ukraine's political crisis reached a new phase last week after president viktor yeah ninkovich push through harsh anti-protest -- resident viktor yanukovych push through harsh anti-protest legislation. more from the capital. i am on europe square where basically fighting is going on right here. basically the square in between independence square where the main protest camp is and the street where most of the clashes have been taking place the last few days.
protesters here, many of them wearing helmets. they keep getting pushed back by the right police who stormed the square, pushed them right back to independence square but they keep coming back in the get more and more angry. protesters going by with what i am pretty sure our guns. i'm not sure if they were real or loaded. but the protesters are determined to fight. emotion is running very, very high at the moment in kiev, especially as the first person wase reported that -- dead a character who was quite well known on independent square. he has been there since december 6. a 20-year-old of armenian origin and he has been tirelessly dividing food, cutting wood, guarding the barricades. he was a popular character. quite well-known to people who have been involved in these protests from the beginning. that made the news of his death
even more emotional and may the protesters even more angry. one ukrainian opposition leader has tweeted he will meet president yeah ninkovich him -- president yanukovich. anymore on that? in the tweet he said all three leaders of the main opposition party will be meeting with yanukovich just a little over half an hour from now. the problem is, we don't have any indication that viktor yanukovich is not necessary to make concessions in the concessions they are demanding his resignation and it does not look like they will stop at anything less than that. the protesters lost all confidence of the leaders of the mainstream opposition parties. that is why this violence started on sunday when they were unhappy, the protesters, with the speeches the opposition leaders made and the way the
opposition leaders did not seem to give a clear, coherent strategy on how to combat these new oppressive laws the ukrainian government introduced. heavy security in china at the trial of one of the countries most common it president. dissidents. he is charged with assembling a crowd to disrupt public order. trying to work within the system to press for anticorruption and change, urging officials to disclose their assets. >> he has called out for stiffer measures against corruption in chinese public life. trialnesday, he went on for disturbing public order. police blocked protesters and media from approaching the beijing courthouse. his lawyer for your -- fears his clients will not get a fair trial. >> justice looks very unlikely.
as his defense lawyer, i really hope we can fully defend him in a fair court but obviously the court is not given him the opportunity. last week i apply for five witnesses to come and testify but the court rejected my application. supportersgroup of from the new citizens movement turned out, denouncing corruption which they say is trying to muzzle him. wealth ofrency of the the leaders is part of our national anticorruption campaign. this pledge is also about the crack on graft. they must make public their assets and wealth. why did they put him in jail question of why do they put him on trial? on chinesealled politicians to fully disclose their interests. three other activists are currently awaiting trial. it comes as a report by international newspapers details white bread tax evasion and offshore holdings by wealthy chinese. many of whom are linked to influential prime minister party members.
thailand, a top pro-government activist has been shot and wounded. he was hurt in northeastern thailand, a stronghold of the prime minister yingluck shinawatra. thousands of protesters have turned out daily in bangkok to push the prime minister out of power. a state of emergency is on now in the capital. inthe world economic forum doubt post, switzerland, u.s. actor matt damon has been awarded for his charity work. whichounded water.org, works to provide access to clean water and a decent toilet for as many people as possible. to try towas in davos convince some of the political and business leaders about his cause. are the headlines -- two people killed in clashes in ukraine, and the first violent deaths in the protests are likely to stoke more anger at the government. heavy security in china at the trial of one of the country's most prominent dissidents.
limitary peace talks on syria get underway for the most serious effort to end the bloodshed. but the opposing side as far apart as they have ever been. there is little hope for a breakthrough. also today and switzerland, the annual economic forum in davos is getting underway. 2500 political and business leaders have kicked off of their annual blame -- brainstorming blitz. but syria is very much on people's minds. inside looktoday's is kenneth roth, executive director of human rights watch, and he joins us now from davos. thank you for taking time to speak to us on "france 24." the annual human rights report just came out and the numbers again on syria are staggering. describe, if you will, the humanitarian situation there at the moment. in addition to well over have a dead syrians we
massive humanitarian problem. the refugees having to flee syria range from two .3 million to perhaps as high as 3 million altogether. another 4 million or more displaced from their homes within syria. of 8, 9, 10 million syrians who are in urgent need of humanitarian aid which often does not reach them because the syrian government is refusing to permit the kind of cross-border assistance from neighboring countries that is the most efficient and direct way to reach those people. >> what can be done exactly to get the assad government to open those to finally hold account responsible? >> this is the against problem the way the geneva ii peace talks are being addressed. everybody wishes them well. we all hope that there is a grand piece and an end to the war.
but nobody thinks that is going to happen anytime soon. the john kerry has refused to put on the agenda in geneva in any meaningful way the syrian government's method of fighting this war. the fact it is fighting the basically by targeting civilians in opposition held areas. either by indiscriminately bombing areas like aleppo or we saw the barrel bombing the last several weeks or by blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in need in opposition areas. we feel that these war criminal efforts, they should have a parallel place in geneva so that while the diplomats negotiate endlessly for peace, there should be a sincere effort to put pressure on assad to stop the killing of civilians and to open up the borders. so far, john kerry is not doing that. >> why do you think he has not done that? why is it not on the table today? >> he is taking a very one-dimensional approach to the
peace talks. don't do anything controversial that might upset somebody, and therefore they would not show up in geneva. that has been his strategy. the only way the other issues come up is so-called confidence building measures. leeza let a few aid convoys come through, please release a couple of prisoners, that will build confidence toward peace talks. but that is just an inadequate approach, given the magnitude of the suffering on the part of the syrian people. so, what we are pressing for is talking, while he peace endlessly, but at the center of the table the killing of civilians. push the russians to in turn push aside -- assad to allow full delivery of aid. the russian pressure work the chemical weapons deal. the russians did not spend much time convincing assad did to get rid of chemical weapons, they told him to. they should do something similar to his war crimes, war strategy of indiscriminately targeting
civilians and blocking humanitarian aid. it's interesting you mention russia because it and china had a very unfortunate role, as someone say, regarding the u.n. and what might have been able to help people little bit more on the ground, yet russia and china continued to block the you one resolutions. tell us about that and what pressure can be put on them. >> exactly. the only security council action that russia in particular -- china is pretty much hiding in russia's shadow -- the only thing russia would allow his october second there was a so-called security council presidential statement which to allowde --assad you miniature and eight unlimited. he is no dumbing. you urge may, you do not order me. this was not a binding resolution. the next logical step would be for the security council to adopt a binding resolution. russia so far says, no. the only way to change that is to put pressure on putin. we have seen that. and in advance of the sochi olympics made exceptions in
releasing a few prisoners because he is worried about his effect on the -- his reputation. in and outuld day denounce russia for underwriting and supporting being assad killing machine we would be in a much different situation: -- because that one stage russia will have to play a political bute for supportive assad, he says russia is a partner and we are working with them to secure please -- peace but it is not getting us in place. >> an independent report also released this week showed shocking images of reportedly tortured detainees, images that have been labeled a smoking gun to link the regime to systematic killing and torture of detainees. what are your thoughts on that and could the indeed a turning point in all of this? >> one would hope so. what you are describing obviously are these 11 thousand corpses, photographs of men who were starved,nces
tortured, and executed, in the custody of the syrian government. this is a crime against humanity of just unthinkable proportions. is further should do negotiators in geneva, not simply to take this long-term approach toward ultimately one day perhaps getting a grand peace accord with syria, but it should press on them the urgency of the matter of addressing the war crimes now. in particular for the prisoners, it means the importance of getting independent monitors into the prison so they can see what happened him at getting people who are held there on political grounds out as quickly as possible, but so far this is only on the agenda in geneva as one of these confidence building measures. let out a few prisoners. meanwhile we have seen thousands upon thousands, the syrian government is murdering them. it should stress the urgency of going beyond this one-dimensional approach of only negotiating peace and at the same time pressure is really needed to stop these atrocities.
john kerry is not willing to take that up yet. the only way it is going to change is if we start talking about it. report the human rights was not only the syria. other trends you recognize around the world in 2013? >> one thing we did highlight in the report is of this trend we saw over the last year in particular of governments that claim to have an electoral mandate but then use the majority harry -- a majority vote or wish -- we will interpret these demonstrations as if we have a majority behind us. it to repress the minority. that is what the egyptian military is doing by detaining left and right muslim brotherhood leaders and using lethal force against them as traitors. we saw something similar in turkey where prime minister erdogan rejected to the demonstrations because he won an election and therefore has been
repressing protests. we see similar things in thailand with the reaction just today of the thai government trying to shut down the protests there. you saw can you with the new president saying, i won an election so therefore don't have to give me for my elected involvement of the killing of people after the last election. this trend, taking an electrical mandate -- electoral mandate to is ae basic right disturbing trend that has reared its head over the past few. >> very briefly, what is your main role in davos next week, what do you hope to achieve? >> human rights watch gets things done in part because we are researchers around the world in virtually every conflict zone. we then take the information collected by our researchers and try to employ it for influential government and people to put pressure on the abuse of government to change. i cannot think of a more powerful collection of influential people them davos, so i am here to try to enlist their influence to change
abusive government behavior around the world. it is a fantastic form for that purpose. >> thank you so much, kenneth roth, for speaking us on "france 24." executive director of human rights watch. time for sports. the latest wall news from the french cup but first results from the australian open. adwanska seed red onc defeated azarenka. the belarus bounced back to take the second set 7-5. got back into the match. f slovakia.bulkova o cibulkova over simona halep.
european handball championships in denmark, olympia champion france delivered a question victory over belarus in the group 2. here, fifth win in as many games. the french cap belarus at arms length throughout. -- kept belarus at arms length throughout. fifa secretary-general -- one of three then use it to be completed. he's giving organizers a few more weeks to approve the stadium is ready. what we are expecting is
these technicians, they will work from now until february 18 and by february 18 they will say, ok, guys, it is fine. they storm the current status, based on the work delivered, based on the team in place, we are confident that we will have the stadium in place for the world cup a few weeks before he leaves the world cup so you can make sure you can organize your games. a difficult birth but at the end we will have a baby. >> construction has been beset with problems. workers have been striking. cup order finals continue this evening and barcelona travel for the first leg. just a few days after holding the catalogs to a 1-1 draw. over a different result. he the argentine coach expects more of the same, though, from the very defensive opposition.
we ask that pretty much the same as what happened after last game on the weekend. rather than working on it, we have been talking about how to effectively break a defensive structure so we can inflict damage on them. i think at the weekend, we cause more damage in the second half where it during the first half it was a lot more difficult. the center of media attention, argentine ace lionel messi. back after a thigh muscle strain. the coach said he played the full last two games and he feels pretty good. if it's some point he feels he has to stop, so be it. but he is training like the rest of the squad, training and
>> next up, mozambique find a better way to clear landmines. and afghanistan's youth finds a unique escape from tension and violence. see some new solutions to old problems, ideas that cost tradition out the window. makings about people real progress and tackling the world's toughest issues. can a story change the world? ,ee for yourself in viewchange outside the box. governments have tools in their belts when it comes to problem solving's in develon