Bloomberg News

UN Resolution Condemning Syria Abuses Passes With Arab Backing

November 22, 2011

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A United Nations committee passed, with strong Arab support, a resolution that denounces Syria’s human-rights abuses and calls on the Assad regime to end the bloodshed and comply with an Arab League ultimatum.

With 122 votes in favor, 13 against and 41 abstentions, the UN committee that handles human rights issues approved today a resolution that “strongly condemns” the “continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities.”

The measure calls on President Bashar al-Assad to implement the Arab League peace plan in its “entirety without further delay.” The resolution will next move to a mid-December vote in the UN General Assembly.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco co-sponsored the resolution, which lists abuses by the Assad regime: arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children.

In contrast with the Security Council, resolutions are easier to pass in the 193-member General Assembly because they are non-binding and usually require only a simple majority. Resolutions are often difficult to pass in the 15-member Security Council, which has the power to inflict sanctions, because there are five veto-wielding nations.

Today’s action at the committee level comes after Russia and China, in a rare double veto not seen since 2008, knocked down an Oct. 4 Security Council that called for Assad to halt the crackdown that began in March and, by UN estimates, has killed more than 3,500 people.

Russia and China voted against today’s resolution.

Arab foreign ministers are due to meet on Nov. 24 to discuss Syria. The Arab League has announced plans to send about 500 monitors to Syria, and refused to negotiate over the proposal after Syria suggested adjustments, according to Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency. The League reiterated a call for “immediate measures” to stop the bloodshed, and threatened to impose economic sanctions.

--Editors: Terry Atlas, Steven Komarow

To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at the United Nations at fjackson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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