Acitivists urge BRICS leaders to press Syria to allow access for UN humanitarian aid

Human rights activists from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are appealing to their leaders to use their influence to press Syria to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to U.N. agencies.

Camila Asano of Brazil's Conectas says it is "a responsibility" for leaders of a BRICS summit starting Tuesday in South Africa to act to protect Syrian civilians.

Human Rights Watch director Jan Egeland wrote separately that it is "time for BRICS to stop sitting on the fence over Syria's atrocities."

BRICS countries oppose foreign intervention in Syria and accuse the West of forcing regime change. Russia, China and South Africa have vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria.

The U.N. estimates some 70,000 people have been killed since Syria's civil war began with peaceful protests two years ago.