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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More