Editor’s note: It was reported on November 28, 2023 that Bashar al-Assad will not attend COP28–the regime’s delegation will instead be led by Prime Minister Hussein Arnous. But the invitation of Assad or a delegation from his government to COP28 nevertheless remains an affront to the Syrians they have tortured, killed, and displaced.
France has issued an arrest warrant against Bashar al-Assad, his brother and partner-in-crime Mahir, and two of his government’s senior officials for their use of chemical weapons against civilians in the Eastern Ghouta and Douma in 2013–a massacre of more than a 1,000 civilians.
An Interpol Red Notice is also expected to be issued against Assad, the first ever to be issued against a sitting head of state.
But this setback for Assad has not stopped him from being invited to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), the global conference on the impacts of climate change and ways to mitigate them. More than 70,000 delegates are expected to attend this year, including the member states or parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The participants include business leaders, young activists, climate scientists, indigenous peoples, and journalists, as well as various other experts and stakeholders.
King Charles is confirmed to be attending and Pope Francis is scheduled to have private meetings with world leaders at the conference.
The invitation for Assad to attend COP28 is considered by Syrians around the world as yet another chance for him to whitewash his crimes against humanity, which are by extension those of his family, regime, Iran, Russia, and every regime-affiliated militia supported by those countries.
Every city in Syria that saw demonstrations against Assad and his regime and open calls for political change from 2011 to 2023 has faced mass-killings, mass-arrests, and mass-destruction campaigns that have resulted in at least 230,224 civilians confirmed dead. These include roughly 15,275 Syrians killed under torture, alongside 154,871 arrested and/or forcibly disappeared, and roughly 14 million people forced to flee their homes.
A mass-murderer once will always be a mass-murderer. Bashar al-Assad to us is the hell that awaits us in case the world gives him and his regime a green light to continue ruling Syria.
Despite all of the atrocities that he and his regime has done and still doing to the Syrian people, a new age dictator is invited to participate in COP28. Mass-murderers such as Assad or Netanyahu are able to get away with attending world summits while silencing hundreds of thousands people through killing and torture. The world will not stop giving these criminals more and more chances, with justice never being served.
We invite you to participate with us in a boycott campaign of COP28, to help our voices reach the world.