UN Human Rights Council Condemns Syrian Government, Calls for Investigation into Violence

At an Special Session in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Syria's human rights abuses and calling for a UN Mission to investigate the violence.

“The United States will continue to stand up for democracy and respect for universal rights that all human beings deserve – in Syria and throughout the world,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice said in a statement, “and we will continue to support all defenders of human rights against Syria’s cynical attempt in Geneva to paper over its record of brutality and repression.”

This vote follows a failed attempt by the United Nations Security Council last week to come up with a resolution condemning Syria. Both China and Russia argued that the situation in Syria was a domestic matter.

The resolution expresses “grave concern with respect to alleged deliberate killings, arrests, and instances of torture of peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities,” and “unequivocally condemns the use of lethal violence against peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities…”

The US resolution was revised to win more support; initial language calling for an official Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violence, as was called for in Libya, was changed to instead be handled by Human Rights Council staffers, though language still suggests a gathering of evidence, saying the “mission” will “investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law and…establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability.”

Twenty-six members of the 47-member forum endorsed the resolution, sponsored by the U.S.

Nine countries voted against the resolution: Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Gabon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Russia.

Seven countries – Cameron, Djibouti, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda and Ukraine -- abstained. Four delegations - Angola, Bahrain, Jordan, and Qatar – were not present.

-Jake Tapper

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