UN General Assembly passes resolution against Syria 3 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 8 years ago

BBC News - Syria crisis: UN assembly adopts Arab-backed resolution

Syria crisis: UN assembly adopts Arab-backed resolution

The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of a resolution condemning human rights violations in Syria and calling for an end to the violence.

The Arab-backed initiative, which also calls on President Bashar al-Assad to resign, is the latest of several attempts to bring an end to the crisis.

Syria said the move would only worsen the crisis and encourage "terrorists".

Earlier, China said it was sending a senior envoy to Damascus to negotiate a "peaceful and proper" solution.

The non-binding resolution adopted by the General Assembly backs an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the killings. It was modelled on an earlier resolution in the Security Council that was vetoed by Russia and China.

Unlike its precursor, the resolution endorsed by the assembly has no legal authority, but the BBC's Barbara Plett, at the UN, said its backers hope it would increase political pressure on Damascus to end the violence. 'Promoting civil war'

Egypt introduced the resolution to the chamber and urged delegates to reach a consensus which would send a strong message to the Syrian authorities.

"We demand that the Syrian government heed the demands of the Arab and Syrian people and staunch the bloodshed," said deputy ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek.

But Syria's ambassador Bashar Jaafari said a yes vote would only be a message of support to the "extremists and terrorists" Damascus declares it is fighting.

Mr Jaafari said the resolution "would only lead to a tightening of the crisis, and more violence in the region as a whole".

As expected, China and Russia again voted against the measure. Both have firmly opposed what they see as forced regime change and have raised concerns about the possibility of international military involvement.

Before the vote, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the resolution was "unbalanced" so Moscow would not back it.

"It directs all the demands at the government, and says nothing about the opposition," Russian media quoted him as saying.

Venezuela, which also voted no, said the motion denied Syria its sovereignty and was being used by some parties to "promote a civil war on a large scale".

The resolution was approved by 137 votes to 12 against, with 17 abstentions. Vetoes are not allowed in the assembly. Three countries said technical problems prevented them from voting.

The US voted in favour, with ambassador Susan Rice saying it "sent a clear message to the people of Syria - the world is with you".

"An overwhelming majority of UN member states have backed the plan put forward by the Arab League to end the suffering of Syrians," she said. "Bashar al-Assad has never been more isolated." Massacre fears

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had called on Syrian authorities to stop killing civilians, and said crimes against humanity might be taking place in the country.

"We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centres, children as young as 10 years old killed and abused. We see almost certain crimes against humanity," he said.

Mr Ban said the previous vetoes were "regrettable", but that the lack of agreement "does not give the government licence to continue this assault on its own people".

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who will go to Damascus on Friday, condemned violence against civilians and called for the government to respect the people's "legitimate" desire for reform.

But in the interview, posted on the Chinese foreign ministry website, he also said sanctions or the threat of sanctions were "not conducive to the appropriate resolution of this issue".

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman would not say if Mr Zhai would also meet Syrian opposition representatives during the two-day visit.

Last week, Mr Zhai met a Syrian opposition delegation in Beijing.

In Syria itself, at least 40 people were killed on Thursday, activists said.

Government forces are reported to have launched a new attack on the town of Deraa in the south of the country, where the rebellion first began.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were fears of a massacre in the Deraa province village of Sahm al-Julan, where dozens of civilians had disappeared.

"Witnesses said security forces shot at the civilians and then piled them onto pick-up trucks. Their fate is unknown," the group said in a statement.

There are also reports of violence on the eastern border with Iraq, and in Kfar Nabuda in the central Hama province, where a number of rebel soldiers are reported to have been killed, along with several civilians.

Shelling by government forces was reported in Homs, which has along with Hama been hit by major government offensives.

There were also reports that prominent pro-democracy blogger Razan Ghazzawi had been arrested, along with Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom Of Expression, and a dozen other people.

Restrictions on journalists mean such reports are difficult to verify.

Human rights groups say 7,000 civilians have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Mr Assad began last March.

Of course this decision is non-binding since it was passed in the General Assembly as opposed to the Security Council vote that is unable to proceed due to vetoes by Russia and China. The resolution is more or less a 'public' statement (similar resolutions have been passed condemning Israel and settlements, and the embargo on Cuba), but has been blasted by those who voted against it as unnecessary and encouraging civil war in an increasingly unstable Syria. It is reflective of how isolated Syria is becoming though.


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#2 8 years ago

Long overdue even if it is ineffective. After months of indecisiveness even some moral condemnation is welcome.

MrFancypants Forum Administrator

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#3 8 years ago

Good to see some reaction from the UN, although it probably won't have any effect. Some interesting wording in the resolution; it says that no foreign states should use force in this conflict unless the use of force corresponds with UN interests. A very slight hint at the possibility of armed intervention. But one of the next passages stresses again how important it is to solve the conflict peacefully.

As an aside note:

I wouldn't say that it is similar to those which have been passed on Israel. This one passed with about 130 votes in favour, 12 against and 17 or so abstaining, which is pretty one-sided.

Resolutions on Israel often pass by default due to the composition of the UN with quite a few abstentions from western countries. These resolutions are typically biased against Israel, hence the Negroponte doctrine of the US to veto any resolution that condemns Israel without attributing any blame to Palestinians terrorists who trigger the behavior the UN is trying to stop.

Commissar MercZ

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#4 8 years ago

I wouldn't say that it is similar to those which have been passed on Israel. This one passed with about 130 votes in favour, 12 against and 17 or so abstaining, which is pretty one-sided.

Resolutions on Israel often pass by default due to the composition of the UN with quite a few abstentions from western countries. These resolutions are typically biased against Israel, hence the Negroponte doctrine of the US to veto any resolution that condemns Israel without attributing any blame to Palestinians terrorists who trigger the behavior the UN is trying to stop.

Most of the resolutions I was talking about concern the votes against the settlements and eviction of Palestinians from their homes to make room for these settlements. I don't see how these things are 'forced upon' on Israel by terrorism, any more than Syria's argument that the violence was 'forced upon' them by terrorist elements in the protesters.

Of course the truth is in the eye of the beholder and media in respective nations are fixed accordingly. I'd imagine much of the spin concerning Syria in Russia is similar to the spin the US gets when it comes to Israel and its own actions- that they are merely defending themselves against terrorists and those that enable their actions. In

A short list of resolutions that again, weren't binding:

Spoiler: Show

Resolution 106: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for Gaza raid".

Resolution 111: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people".

Resolution 127: " . . . 'recommends' Israel suspends it's 'no-man's zone' in Jerusalem".

Resolution 162: " . . . 'urges' Israel to comply with UN decisions".

Resolution 171: " . . . determines flagrant violations' by Israel in its attack on Syria".

Resolution 228: " . . . 'censures' Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control".

Resolution 237: " . . . 'urges' Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees". Resolution 248: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan".

Resolution 250: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem".

Resolution 251: " . . . 'deeply deplores' Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250".

Resolution 252: " . . . 'declares invalid' Israel's acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital".

Resolution 256: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli raids on Jordan as 'flagrant violation".

Resolution 259: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation".

Resolution 262: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for attack on Beirut airport". *

Resolution 265: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks for Salt in Jordan".

Resolution 267: " . . . 'censures' Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem".

Resolution 270: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon".

Resolution 271: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem".

Resolution 279: " . . . 'demands' withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon".

Resolution 280: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli's attacks against Lebanon".

Resolution 285: " . . . 'demands' immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon".

Resolution 298: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's changing of the status of Jerusalem".

Resolution 313: " . . . 'demands' that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon".

Resolution 316: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon".

Resolution 317: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon".

Resolution 332: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's repeated attacks against Lebanon".

Resolution 337: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violating Lebanon's sovereignty".

Resolution 347: " . . . 'condemns' Israeli attacks on Lebanon".

Resolution 425: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon".

Resolution 427: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon.

Resolution 444: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces".

Resolution 446: " . . . 'determines' that Israeli settlements are a 'serious obstruction' to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention". Resolution 450: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon".

Resolution 452: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories".

Resolution 465: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel's settlements program".

Resolution 467: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's military intervention in Lebanon".

Resolution 468: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return".

Resolution 469: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's failure to observe the council's order not to deport Palestinians".

Resolution 471: " . . . 'expresses deep concern' at Israel's failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention".

Resolution 476: " . . . 'reiterates' that Israel's claim to Jerusalem are 'null and void'". * Resolution 478: " . . . 'censures (Israel) in the strongest terms' for its claim to Jerusalem in its 'Basic Law'".

Resolution 484: " . . . 'declares it imperative' that Israel re- admit two deported Palestinian mayors".

Resolution 487: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel for its attack on Iraq's nuclear facility".

Resolution 497: " . . . 'decides' that Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan Heights is 'null and void' and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith".

Resolution 498: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon".

Resolution 501: " . . . 'calls' on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops".

Resolution 509: " . . . 'demands' that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon".

Resolution 515: " . . . 'demands' that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in". *

Resolution 517: " . . . 'censures' Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon".

Resolution 518: " . . . 'demands' that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon".

Resolution 520: " . . . 'condemns' Israel's attack into West Beirut".

Resolution 573: " . . . 'condemns' Israel 'vigorously' for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters.

Resolution 587: " . . . 'takes note' of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw".

Resolution 592: " . . . 'strongly deplores' the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops".

Resolution 605: " . . . 'strongly deplores' Israel's policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.

Resolution 607: " . . . 'calls' on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Resolution 608: " . . . 'deeply regrets' that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians".

Resolution 636: " . . . 'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.

Resolution 641: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 672: " . . . 'condemns' Israel for violence against Palestinians at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

Resolution 673: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.

Resolution 681: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 694: " . . . 'deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.

Resolution 726: " . . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 799: ". . . 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.

Again though, like this particular resolution these did not have binding effect due to US invocation of veto. In these cases where it's not concerning Israel's 'right to self-defense and existence' the US just abstains. Again though this really just demonstrates the way vetoes have been used by certain powers to protect their interests in the area, even though they'd be happy to condemn such acts in nations that aren't in their fold.

So in the mean time, Syria can merely throw up its arms and say that the world is prejudiced against them, and that they are fighting a war against terror, not infringing on human rights.