AJC Praises UN Human Rights Council Call for Tougher Actions on Syria

Dec 02, 2011, 16:24 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC praised the UN Human Rights Council for adopting a strong resolution today that endorsed the striking findings of a new investigative report on human rights conditions in Syria.

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The report, prepared by an independent Commission of Inquiry established by the council, was released earlier this week. It concluded that the Bashar al-Assad regime's authorities and members of its military and security forces committed 'gross and systematic violations of human rights ... that may amount to crimes against humanity' against Syrian civilians.

"The Human Rights Council again has spoken up for the tormented Syrian people," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The UN Security Council should convene soonest to adopt the strongest possible measures against Syria. Each day of delay costs more lives at the hands of President Assad's despotic regime."

The Human Rights Council measure passed, by a vote of 37 to 4, with six abstentions. Russia, China, Cuba and Ecuador voted against it. Both China and Russia have strenuously opposed meaningful Security Council action on Syria.

Today's action in Geneva is the latest Human Rights Council resolution on Syria since the Assad regime launched its brutal crackdown eight months ago. According to the UN, more than 4,000 have been killed, including 300 children, at the hands of Syrian security forces. The resolution also condemns forced disappearances, torture including against children, and sexual violence including against male detainees and children. It also noted the attacks were committed explicitly on the orders of the authorities.

The Human Rights Council called on the main UN bodies to "urgently consider" the commission of inquiry report and "take appropriate action," and requested the Secretary General to report back on the implementation of the resolution.   It supported "efforts to protect the population of the Syrian Arab Republic and to bring an immediate end to gross human rights violations." And, it urged Syria "to protect its population" and "to immediately put an end to all human rights violations."

The resolution also decided "to establish a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Syria and urged Syria to cooperate with it.

To date, Syria has defiantly ignored any international criticism of its crackdown, which began in March, and condemned the growing list of countries, including the U.S., EU and Arab League, that have imposed sanctions. The U.S., EU and several others also have publicly called on Assad to leave office.

"The Human Rights Council report is a chilling indictment of the Assad regime's record of human rights abuses of Syrians, of all ages," said Harris. "The UN Security Council should immediately refer Assad to the International Criminal Court, and impose economic and political sanctions on Syria aimed at significantly upping the cost of his brutality."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee