BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 P.M.) – The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an international boycott of the opening ceremony for this year’s World Cup in Russia.
According to a statement from HRW’s Director Kenneth Roth, world leaders should boycott the opening ceremony because of the alleged ‘atrocities’ committed by the Syrian and Russian forces in Syria.
“In hosting one of the most televised events in the world, Russia is courting world public opinion and looking for respect,” Roth stated.
“World leaders should signal to President [Vladimir] Putin that unless he changes track and acts to end atrocities by Russian and Syrian forces in Syria, they won’t be in their seats in the VIP box with him on opening night,” Roth added.
Roth has been a staunch critic of Russia’s intervention in Syria, which has translated in his latest call for the World Cup boycott.
“World leaders should not allow a sporting event to gloss over a pattern of atrocities in Syria that now looms over two million civilians,” Roth added.