UN rights body condemns Syria for civilian deaths

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] voted to condemn Syria [press release] on Friday for killing more than 100 civilians in the Houla region of the country last week. The 47-member body voted 41-3 [AP report] to approve a resolution blaming "pro-regime elements" and government troops for the massacre in Houla. Russia, China and Cuba voted against the resolution. Two nations abstained and one did not vote. The US, which sponsored the resolution, strongly condemned the Assad regime for attacking civilians, especially small children. In the press release, the US praised Syrians for bravely risking their lives to broadcast to the world the horrors that the brutal campaign that the Syrian government is waging against its own people. The resolution called for an independent international probe into what happened in Houla last week.

The recent massacre in Houla diminished the hope for the success of the peace plan [text, PDF] that was laid out by Kofi Annan [official profile], Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States. Last Thursday the UN's three-member Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria released [JURIST report] a report [text, PDF] that alleged Syrian security forces as well as anti-government groups are responsible for the continuing violence in Syria including torture of children. Syria has been urged to end the escalating violence against civilians that started in March of last year. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released numerous reports alleging that Syrian government forces committed war crimes against civilians and thereby violated human rights within the last few months. In early May, HRW reported [JURIST report] such violation when government forces killed at least 95 civilians in the province of Idlib during ceasefire negotiations. In April, HRW released [JURIST report] a report showing that Syrian security forces have executed more than 100 civilians and opposition fighters.

 

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