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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

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