December 03, 2011

Syria: U.N. resolution 'unjust'

(CNN) -- Syria on Saturday slammed the U.N. Human Rights Council's stinging condemnation of its security crackdown, calling its resolution "unjust and blatantly politicized."
"It has become clear to the people of Syria and the countries that realize the reality of the conspiracy against it that the interest of the Syrian people is the last thing on the mind of the countries sponsoring such sessions and their impotent resolutions, and that their true goal is inciting the continuation of terrorism against citizens," according to an official source quoted by the government-run Syrian Arab News Agency.
The council, in a 37-4 vote, passed a resolution Friday that "strongly condemns the continued widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the killing and persecution of protesters, human rights defenders and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, including against children."

There were six abstentions at the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The group convened to consider action against Syria after a report issued Monday by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry, a body appointed by the council. That report concluded security and military forces "committed crimes against humanity" against civilians.
The resolution recommends that U.N. bodies "urgently consider" the commission report and "take appropriate action."
Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Djibouti were among the countries who voted in favor of the resolution. Those countries are members of the Arab League, one of the international entities initiating sanctions against the Bashar al-Assad regime for its nearly nine-month long bloody push against peaceful protesters. The United States, the European Union and Turkey also have imposed sanctions.
This week, the United Nations said more than 4,000 people have died since mid-March and the death toll continues to rise. On Saturday, at least 17 deaths have been reported, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an activist group. Of the deaths, at least nine died in the restive region of Homs city and province, in the west.

SANA said the Commission of Inquiry's report made judgments "based on information promoted by some groups outside Syria and known biased mass media sources." Syria blames "armed terrorist groups" for the bloodshed.
The source cited by SANA contended that "several countries at the UNHRC said that the report and the resolution don't meet the minimum standards of objectivity and professionalism and overstep the jurisdiction of the UNHRC, in addition to ignoring the issue of weapon smuggling and the funding and training of terrorists in special camps outside Syria."

Russia, Cuba, China, and Ecuador voted against the resolution.

Russia's permanent council representative said the resolution "is designed to further exacerbate the conflict and not to peacefully settle it. The resolution is biased, in reflecting the current situation placing full and total blame on the Syrian government and ignoring those serious crimes by anti-government forces. We believe that there is no basis for calling Damascus's activities crimes against humanity - in any event this goes beyond the mandate of the council."
Russia has been calling for the violence to stop, no matter where it stems from. But it is concerned that several provisions in the resolution could be construed "as an open appeal to interfere in Syria's internal affairs, allowing for military actions, including military intervention."
The Syrian source was quoted by SANA as saying the council "deliberately ignored documents and information" from Syria and failed to mention the government's reforms.

Even though it was denied access into Syria, the Commission of Inquiry interviewed "223 victims and witnesses, including military and security forces who had defected and testified to the role of Syrian forces in the use of lethal violence against peaceful protests. "
The United States, Britain, and the Human Rights Watch, a rights watchdog, hailed the council's move.
"The time has come for the Security Council to follow the lead of the Arab League and Turkey and impose sanctions. It should put in place an arms embargo as well as an asset freeze and travel ban on Syrian officials responsible for the abuses, and refer the case to the International Criminal Court," the Human Rights Watch said.

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