News / Middle East

UN Human Rights Council Condemns Syria

Overview of the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in Syria in Geneva August 22, 2011.
Overview of the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in Syria in Geneva August 22, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Schlein

The U.N. Human Rights Council has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution condemning Syria for grave and systematic human-rights violations.  The resolution also calls for an international investigation into possible crimes against humanity.

The resolution to condemn Syria has passed by a vote of 33 in favor, four against and nine abstentions.

Polish representative to the United Nations Cezaru Lusinski introduced the resolution, saying it was a clear response to the ongoing grave and systematic human-rights violations in the Syrian Arab Republic.  

"The continued violence, of lack of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, it decides to urgently dispatch an independent, international Commission of Inquiry to investigate violations of international human rights law in the Syrian Arab Republic and where possible to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that perpetrators of violations are held accountable," said Lusinski.  

The resolution was passed despite the objections of Russia, China, and Cuba.  Russia called it one-sided and politicized.  China said the right way to protect human rights is through respect and dialogue, not through accusations.  The Syrian representative called the resolution political and unbalanced.

But Amnesty International Representative in Geneva Peter Splinter dismisses these as minority views.  He tells VOA the outcome of the vote shows cross-regional support for the resolution.  He notes even the four Arab members of the Council voted to condemn Syria's actions.

"In this year of the Arab Spring, there are many things that are surprising.  But, I suspect, Syria is their neighboring country, they must be very concerned, when large numbers - we are talking over 2,000 people -  are killed by their own government, that must be a concern for any neighboring government," said Splinter.  

The resolution strongly condemns arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters and human-rights defenders in Syria.   It accuses Syria of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children.  It calls for the Syrian authorities to immediately put an end to all human-rights violations.

Splinter says the resolution sends a clear message from the International community that the Syrian government cannot get away with such behavior.  

"The Commission of Inquiry, when it reports, that will be an important accountability tool," added Splinter.  "That will be something that the U.N. system and we hope eventually the International Criminal Court will be able to use to hold accountable the Syrian officials who are responsible for giving the orders that are leading to the large numbers of killings of Syrians."

Splinter agrees the U.N. Human Rights Council has no stick with which to force Syria to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry or to stop the killings and persecution of its own people.  But he says the moral voice of the Council carries weight, which commands respect and often leads to an improvement in human rights.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid