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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

UN passes Qatar-drafted measure condemning Syria human rights abuses

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The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution tonight condemning the Syrian government, criticizing President Bashar Al-Assad for human rights violations and supporting a transition of power to the opposition.

It also expressed concern that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, escalating the use of heavy weapons in civilian areas and called on Syria to allow open access to UN investigators.

Weaker support

The measure, which was drafted by Qatar, was approved by a vote of 107 to 12, with 59 member states abstaining. However, according to Reuters, a similar resolution that passed last year received more support, with 133 votes. 

It cited UN diplomats as saying the decline in support showed “growing unease about Syria’s fractious rebel groups fighting Assad’s forces in the two-year civil war.”

It continued:

While the non-binding text has no legal force, resolutions adopted by the 193-nation assembly can carry significant moral and political weight…

The resolution, which had strong backing from Western and Gulf Arab nations, was originally conceived to give Syria’s UN seat to the opposition SNC. But UN diplomats said it became clear in early negotiations that such a move would not pass the assembly, where many delegations fear their own governments could one day face rebel uprisings.

Qatar has been one of the most vocal critics of Al-Assad and a prominent supporter of Syrian opposition groups.

Russia, on the other hand, wholly opposed the resolution, which welcomes the establishment of the Syrian National Coalition “as effective representative interlocutors needed for a political transition,” calling it “an obstacle to peace talks,” Al Jazeera English reports.

The measure comes days after opposition groups drew international criticism after a gruesome video surfaced of an alleged rebel fighter cutting out and eating the organs of a government soldier. The Free Syria Army has said it will find and punish the men who committed the atrocities.

Meanwhile, the people of Syria are falling into an ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, with the UN estimating that some 80,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed during the past two years of civil war.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo of UN General Assembly for illustrative purposes only courtesy of UN

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