B’nai B’rith International welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to establish a special rapporteur on Syria. Reports indicate that eight months after the Bashar al-Assad regime began its vicious crackdown it has killed more than 4,000 people, 300 of them children. An independent commission of inquiry report, released last week, cited widespread “crimes against humanity” and disproportionate and undue force against Syrian civilians.
At the third recent emergency meeting on Syria of the 47-member Human Rights Council in Geneva, 37 European, Asian, Arab and American members voted in overwhelming favor of the resolution, reproaching Syria for “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.”
China, Cuba, Ecuador and Russia voted against. Six countries abstained: Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Philippines and Uganda.
The resolution also established the post of a special human rights investigator to scrutinize abuses in Syria. Additionally, the resolution noted that the widespread attacks—including torture, sexual violence and forced disappearances—were perpetrated unequivocally on the orders of Syrian authorities.
The HRC urged the main U.N. bodies to “urgently consider” this report and “take appropriate action” to support “efforts to protect the population of the Syrian Arab Republic and to bring an immediate end to gross human rights violations.”
The current monstrous actions of the country’s leadership must be ended immediately and this HRC declaration is a positive step forward on the road to stopping the violent, despotic practices of the Syrian leadership. Only with such a course can the Syrian people begin to feel safe and to rebuild their country.