GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – US Ambassador to the UN Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe was quick to praise a resolution condemning Syria, taken by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council Tuesday 23 August. The council also agreed to set up a commission of inquiry to further investigate the human rights situation in Syria.
The vote was 33 in favour, 4 against and 9 abstentions. Russia called the draft resolution one-sided and politicized, saying it was essentially aimed at removing a legitimate government. China said that the correct way to protect human rights was not through accusations and that a response to the crisis should respect Syria’s sovereignty and the promotion of dialogue.
The council stated at the close of the meeting, the second special session on Syria called this year:
“The resolution, adopted by 33 votes in favour, 4 votes against and 9 abstentions, strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities; welcomes the report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and expresses profound concern about its findings; and calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately put an end to all human rights violations; to protect their population and fully comply with their obligations and calls for an immediate end to all violence in Syria. It also calls on Syrian authorities to allow independent media to operate without undue restrictions, to allow access to the Internet and telecommunications networks for all and to lift censorship on reporting. The resolution expresses concern about the humanitarian situation and urges the Syrian authorities to ensure timely, safe and unhindered access for all humanitarian agencies and workers and to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies into the country. The resolution calls for a Syrian led political process and for an inclusive, credible and genuine national dialogue conducted in an environment without fear and intimidation and with the aim of addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian population.”
Chamberlain-Donahoe said in a statement after the meeting that “the passage today of the Human Rights Council resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Syria sends several important messages: first, there is a very strong and growing consensus in the international community that Assad has lost legitimacy to govern and must step down. The outcome manifests the extent to which he is now isolated.
“Second, through this resolution, the international community sent a clear message to the Syrian people: We will not stand by silently as innocent civilians and peaceful protesters are slaughtered by security forces. We are working to ramp up pressure on the Syrian authorities to help ensure that the violence ends. We have not been fooled by empty promises of reform and engagement. Actions speak louder than words: the continuing atrocities have sent a loud and clear message to us all that Assad’s promises cannot be trusted.”
China and Russia