Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 2 December 2011
Concludes Special Session on Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic
The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its Special Session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic in light of the report of the Commission of Inquiry, adopting a resolution in which it strongly condemned the continued widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and decided to establish a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, once the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry ends.
In the resolution, adopted by 37 votes in favour, 4 votes against and 6 abstentions, the Council strongly condemned 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. It recommended that the main bodies of the United Nations urgently consider the report of the Commission of Inquiry and take appropriate action. The Council also decided to establish a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, once the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry ended, to monitor the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as to monitor the implementation of the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry addressed to the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic and of the Human Rights Council's resolutions on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and called upon the Syrian Government to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur. The Council decided to transmit the Commission of Inquiry report to the United Nations Secretary-General for appropriate action and transmission to all United Nations relevant bodies.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country before the adoption of the resolution, said that there had been many constructive criticisms of the report of the Commission of Inquiry which showed that it was biased and only presented a one-sided view of the situation in the country. Syria thanked all those supportive countries that recognized the false message in the resolution and said that the text should have called on all sections of the Syrian people to engage in a national dialogue to end the crisis.
In the general debate, speakers said that the report by the Commission of Inquiry had contained truly shocking testimonies that described a reign of terror being enforced on the Syrian people including grave abuses of children’s rights with children being subjected to sexual violence, killings, excessive use of force and torture. The pattern of serious human rights violations could amount to crimes against humanity and many speakers recommended referral of the crisis to the International Criminal Court. The efforts of the League of Arab States were commended and many speakers urged Syria to cooperate with the League to resolve the crisis. There was concern that the situation in Syria could degenerate into civil war. Other speakers noted that there could be no viable solution to the crisis other than one emerging from a consensus arrived at within Syria and based on genuine dialogue among all concerned parties.
The following States took the floor during the general debate: Sweden, Portugal, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Holy See, Morocco, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Croatia, Slovenia, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Paraguay, Sudan, Belarus, Honduras, Algeria, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Non-governmental organizations that took the floor were: United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, United Nations Watch, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme and the Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru.
Poland presented the resolution on behalf of the European Union. The Russian Federation, Cuba and China made general comments and requested that the draft resolution be put to a vote. Uganda, India and Thailand spoke in an explanation of the vote before the vote.
This was the third Special Session to be held on Syria this year, the others were held on 29 April and on 22 and 23 August 2011. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which was established by the second Special Session, presented its report on 28 November, concluding that the substantial body of evidence gathered by the Commission indicated that gross violations of human rights had been committed by Syrian military and security forces since the beginning of the protests in March 2011. The Commission was gravely concerned that crimes against humanity had been committed in different locations in the Syrian Arab Republic during the period under review. It called upon the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to put an immediate end to the ongoing gross human rights violations, to initiate independent and impartial investigations of these violations and to bring perpetrators to justice. The Commission deeply regretted that, despite many requests, the Government had failed to engage in dialogue and to grant the Commission access to the country.
The next regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 27 February to 23 March 2012.
JAN KNUTSSON (Sweden) said Sweden noted with satisfaction that the international community was speaking with an increasingly united and strong voice. Never before had so many Governments supported a Special Session in the Council. President Assad and his regime must step down from power and allow a democratic process to commence. The report by the Commission of Inquiry contained truly shocking testimonies that described a reign of terror being enforced on the Syrian people. The grave abuse of children’s rights in Syria was alarming and completely unacceptable. Children were being subjected to sexual violence, killings, excessive use of force and torture. The serious ongoing repression of freedom of expression and the media, including monitoring of mobile technology and the internet, was another area of serious concern. Sweden supported the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on the situation in Syria.
GRACA ANDRESEN GUINARAES (Portugal) said that the serious deterioration of the situation on the ground in Syria required the attention of the Human Rights Council. The findings of the Commission of Inquiry had found a pattern of serious human rights violations which could amount to crimes against humanity, as provided for in the Rome Statues of the International Criminal Court. The perpetrators of these serious crimes should be held accountable. Portugal condemned in the strongest terms the on-going acts of brutal violence perpetrated by the Syrian authority against its own civilian population and urged Syria to put an end to these gross human rights violations and to fully cooperate and implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. Portugal remained committed, both here and in the Security Council, to convey a clear and firm message of rejection of these appalling acts. All members of this Council should adopt by consensus the resolution before the Council.
HANNS H. SHUMACHER (Germany) said the message of the third Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Syria was unequivocal and clear: the Council would not shut its eyes to the killing of children, the raping of women and the murdering of peaceful protesters. Germany was deeply worried that appeals by United Nations bodies, the Arab League and the European Union had been ignored by the Syrian regime. Germany urged the Council to come to an agreement that ensured the situation in Syria was comprehensively addressed by relevant United Nations bodies: unless the Syrian regime urgently complied with its obligations the Security Council would have to be involved. Germany strongly supported the efforts of the Arab League, including its demand for humanitarian access and the dispatch of observers, and said close cooperation with regional partners to protect the Syrian population and guarantee the liberty and security of its citizens was needed.
GERALD CORR (Ireland) said that the Syrian authorities had, so far, shown indifference to the concern and condemnation of the world. It was therefore the role of this Council to support the people of Syria in demanding that their rights were respected. The Syrian Government should now put an immediate end to these violations. The Commission of Inquiry had expressed its grave concern that crimes against humanity had occurred in different locations in the country since March 2011. Ireland appreciated the courageous leadership role of the League of Arab States and fully endorsed the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry in addition to supporting the mandate of a Special Rapporteur.
OSAMU SAKASHITA (Japan) said that like many others, Japan strongly condemned the grave and massive human rights violations in Syria, and urged the Syrian authorities to immediately take steps to enable the Commission of Inquiry to carry out its work, and to extend full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur provided for in the draft resolution. The Human Rights Council had once more shown its capacity to act swiftly in the face of grave human rights violations. Syria must heed calls from the international community, including the General Assembly and the Arab League, to halt all violence, and engage in a peaceful broad-based process of dialogue with the Syrian people.
MARIA ULFF-MOLLER (Denmark) said that Denmark condemned in the strongest terms all gross violations of children’s rights, excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, torture and sexual violence that had occurred in Syria. The report of the Commission of Inquiry had provided clear evidence of the Syrian authorities’ systematic violations of human rights. Denmark had continually urged the Syrian authorities to stop the violence, initiate a national dialogue and deliver without delay on its promise of implementing political reforms. President al-Assad had lost all legitimacy and should step aside and allow a process of real political reform. Denmark said that an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights field presence with a protection and promotion mandate would be of great importance in addressing the challenges ahead.
JEAN FEYDER (Luxembourg) said the Syrian regime had ignored calls from the international community, including the Arab League, to halt all violence. Indeed, Syria had intensified its repression. Luxembourg was concerned with the scope of repression orchestrated by the authorities, particularly summary executions and torture, which targeted women and children and which had reached unbearable levels of horror. The Council must protect the most vulnerable. Today 1.5 million Syrians needed food aid, and three million Syrians were affected by repression. The number of people fleeing the atrocities was growing. Luxembourg hoped the Council would adopt the draft resolution by consensus in order to show solidarity with the Syrian population.
RI JAN GON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the Syrian Arab Republic was being singled out for purposes other than genuine human rights while the continuing bloody wars and killings in Afghanistan and the occupied Arab territories as well as the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators for the very survival of life in other parts of the world were being deliberately ignored. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had reaffirmed its continued rejection of the practice of politicization, selectivity and double standards in the field of human rights. The adoption of the draft resolution against Syria and establishment of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic were not the right way to resolve the issues and would result in mistrust and confrontation. The Syrian Government could resolve domestic issues in the interests of its people without any outside intervention.
SILVANO M. TOMASI (Holy See) said the Holy See had followed with great concern the dramatic and growing episodes of violence in Syria which had left many victims and grave suffering. The delegate reiterated the appeals of the Holy Father to the faithful to pray that the effort for reconciliation may prevail over division and resentment. The events in Syria were born from the desire for a better future of economic well-being, justice, freedom and participation in public life: those developments should not take place through intolerance, discrimination or conflict, and even less through violence. The delegation of the Holy See expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, prayed for the recovery of the wounded, and hoped peace would prevail to allow for a renewed society to see a future where the innate dignity of every person was respected.
ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said Morocco was deeply saddened by the number of civilian victims in Syria and expressed its condolences to the families that had lost loved ones. The report of the Commission of Inquiry was balanced and emphasized the humanitarian nature of the crisis. It was important to ensure access by humanitarian personnel while a priority should be given to the overriding interests of the Syrian people. Morocco, as part of the Arab attempt to reach a joint settlement, had always taken a humanitarian approach to the crisis in Syria and called on all participants to enter into a national direct dialogue in keeping with the Arab initiative.
BRANISLAV LISAK (Slovakia) said that unfortunately they did not live in an ideal world, and Syria was an ample example of that. Syria had wasted every opportunity at its disposal to reverse the direction that its human rights situation had evolved in since March this year. Unlike compatriots in the Arab Spring movement – some faced with more painful consequences than others – the determination and endurance of Syrians had so far not born any fruit. Syrians continued to pay the highest price for their legitimate demands for fundamental freedoms and rights. Slovakia fully subscribed to the continuation of country monitoring through the establishment of a Special Rapporteur, the field presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and referral of the situation to the Security Council and the International Criminal Court.
TAMARA KUNANAYA (Sri Lanka) said that any action initiated concerning the promotion and protection of human rights in a Member State should have the consent of that country and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue aimed at strengthening its domestic capacity to comply with its human rights obligations as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 60/251. Sri Lanka was of the view that there could be no viable solution to the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic other than one emerging from a consensus arrived at within the country and based on the active support of and genuine dialogue among all concerned parties. Sri Lanka would welcome any efforts to reinforce and strengthen internal domestic processes and efforts aimed at finding a durable solution to the crisis through international cooperation and dialogue that respected national sovereignty and independence of the country and its territorial integrity.
GANCHO GANEV (Bulgaria) said Bulgaria was deeply concerned about the acts of grave human rights violations in Syria; the level of brutality and military force against peaceful protestors was absolutely inadmissible. Bulgaria urged the Syrian authorities to immediately grant access to independent observers, media and humanitarian workers to all regions of concern in the country. It fully supported the establishment of a Special Rapporteur once the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry ended. Bulgaria was among the co-sponsors of the proposed draft resolution and expected it to be unanimously endorsed by the Human Rights Council Member States.
JUAN ARIAS PALACIO (Venezuela) said Venezuela condemned the use of violence as a means of settling the crisis in Syria and reiterated its call for political dialogue as a way out of the situation. Sanctions would only lead to more violence as evidenced by the imperialist approach of sanctions applied in Libya which had led to the bombing of civilians. The draft resolution should not be supported and action taken by this Council should be aimed at promoting and protecting human rights. The Syrian Government and people could resolve their internal problems without relying on foreign intervention.
VESNA VUKOVIC (Croatia) said Croatia urged the Syrian Government to implement the recommendations in the report, including independently investigating ongoing international human rights law violations, as well as accountability for all perpetrators. Croatia supported the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Syria and welcomed a wide cross-regional approach in addressing the situation, particularly the efforts and measures undertaken by the Arab League.
JURIS ZER-VEC (Slovenia) said Slovenia deeply regretted that the Syrian authorities had not cooperated with the Commission of Inquiry. The report had identified human rights violations by the Syrian military and security forces in different locations in the country since March 2011 which amounted to crimes against humanity. It was further inadmissible that children had suffered serious violations of their rights, including killings during demonstrations, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. Slovenia urged the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to put an immediate end to gross human rights violations and to ensure the protection of its population. The Human Rights Council should adopt the draft resolution by consensus.
MONCEF BAATI (Tunisia) said Tunisia was concerned about the continuing violence in Syria and the grave information contained in the report. Since the crisis began in Syria, Tunisia had supported a dialogue to achieve democracy while respecting the sovereignty of Syria. Considering the lukewarm response from the Syrian authorities towards the Arab League’s initiative, despite it previously accepting it, Tunisia supported the decision to suspend Syria from the Arab League and implement sanctions. The consequences would be very serious. Tunisia condemned the use of a violence to deal with the legitimate demands of the Syrian population, but did not approve of any foreign intervention in Syria, which could lead to an escalation of the crisis. Tunisia called on the Syrian regime to implement the recommendations of the Arab League and the Human Rights Council.
PETER GOODERHAM (United Kingdom) said the report of the Commission of Inquiry had made harrowing reading, with testimony of the deliberate killing of peaceful demonstrators, arbitrary detentions, sexual abuse and the torturing of injured protestors in hospital. Children had been detained by military forces and in some cases, bound, beaten and tortured. No one could fail to be moved by the testimony that a two-year old girl was shot by an officer who said he ‘had not wanted her to grow into a demonstrator.’ As the resolution had clearly stated, those responsible for such violations should be held to account and other parts of the Untied Nations should now also take action. The overwhelming majority of the international community had voted in favour of last week’s General Assembly resolution and today the Human Rights Council must send an unequivocal message to the Assad regime that the violations must end immediately.
FEDERICO GONZALEZ (Paraguay) said that Paraguay regretted that the Syrian Government had not cooperated with the Commission of Inquiry and urged it to extend greater cooperation with international mechanisms for promoting and protecting human rights. Paraguay asked the Syrian Government to put an immediate stop to violence, and requested all parties not to resort to violence as a means to stopping demonstrations. The entire international community should be galvanised by events in Syria and work to end the crisis in a peaceful way.
ABDELRAHMAN DIRAR (Sudan) said that Sudan reaffirmed the need to return to normalcy as soon as possible in Syria. Sudan called on its Syrian brothers to cooperate with the League of Arab States to avoid further violence, foreign intervention and the territorial division of the country. Sudan was against the politicization of human rights and therefore had asked for amendments to the draft resolution.
ANDREI TARANDA (Belarus) noted that the Special Session was requested by 71 members of the United Nations and had a cross-regional character, although the views of the remaining 122 members of the United Nations were not taken into account. The context was one where delegations did not have enough time to make a complete study of the report and were forced to participate today, and react spontaneously to the document. The document was only available in two languages, not the six languages of the United Nations, which was against the Charter of the United Nations. It was counter-productive to have a Special Rapporteur without the agreement of the affected State. Such Council mechanisms set up unilaterally did not enhance cooperation with the relevant Government. With information on the victims on both sides, Belarus called for an end to the violence with strict adherence to the sovereignty of the State.
GIAMPAOLO C. RIZZO ALVARADO (Honduras) said that the report submitted by the Commission of Inquiry had documented instances of arbitrary detention, extrajudicial executions and the violations of the rights of children. Honduras was concerned that the situation in Syria could degenerate into civil war. Seven months had elapsed since the Council convened the first Special Session on Syria and since then the situation had not improved. Honduras supported the resolution to send a strong message that would reject the grave violations of human rights occurring in Syria.
BOUALEM CHEBIH (Algeria) said Algeria was sorry to have to meet for the third time on Syria in just seven months, which showed the situation had not improved. Blood continued to be shed in Syria and there was a total absence of any visible solution. Together with the Arab League, Algeria had tried to find a solution to the crisis in Syria without resorting to foreign interference, and indeed hoped it would be possible to have an Arab-Syrian settlement, to ensure better respect for human rights and the unity and sovereignty of Syria. Algeria said there was a need to preserve the credibility of the Council by strictly observing and respecting the Council’s mandate: the resolution should reflect that.
WENDY HINTON (New Zealand) said that the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria had found substantial evidence, since March, of abuse, including summary executions, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, sexual violence and the violations of children’s rights. The crimes against humanity that were noted in the report and the scale and patterns of attacks by the military on civilians could not have been possible without the complicity of the State. New Zealand urged the Syrian authorities to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and to end all violence against civilians, release all political prisoners and cooperate with the international community towards creating a better future for all Syrians.
SUSANNA TERSTAL (Netherlands) said the report of the Commission of Inquiry put the facts into perspective; it uncovered the patterns and it made a convincing analysis that crimes against humanity had been committed. It was up to the Security Council and other United Nations bodies to address that, while reference to the International Criminal Court would be an adequate step. The High Commissioner described yesterday how in 2011 so many people in North Africa and the Middle East used their newfound determination to demand their rights because they were no longer willing to accept injustice. Syria was a case in point and the Council was called upon to take action for the benefit of the victims of human rights violations by the Syrian authorities.
ELIAS KHOURI, of United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, in a joint statement with Union of Arab Jurists, and General Arab Women Federation, said that any objective observer would have no trouble to see the media machine which had been launched against Syria. The regional declarations had made the situation worse and armed groups in the country were being supplied with arms by foreign countries. Internal reforms were required to resolve the crisis rather than external sanctions. The international community should encourage a dialogue among all parties to resolve the conflict in Syria.
MUHANNAD AL-HASANI, of International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, said that there were considerable human rights violations in Syria as a result of the imposition of a political will on people that ran against their desires. Schools, hospitals and other infrastructure had been used to carry out crimes against civilians. Torture had been practiced and there should be an immediate call to justice to avoid impunity with a referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
RENATE BLOEM, of CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, said CIVICUS were deeply concerned about the crimes against humanity being committed in Syria as they spoke. The report detailed how Government snipers targeted individuals taking part in peaceful protests, and expressed its horror at reports of enforced disappearances, and use of cruel methods of torture including sexual violence, which did not even spare children. CIVICUS urged the transmission of the report’s findings to the General Assembly and the establishment of a Special Rapporteur.
PETER SPLINTER, of Amnesty International, said that in the face of the brutal repression occurring in Syria it was outrageous that some countries continued to obstruct efforts here and elsewhere in the United Nations to bring an end to those crimes against humanity. Certain permanent and elected members of the United Nations Security Council, some aspiring to permanent status, had consistently blocked peaceful measures that would contribute to peace in Syria. It took until 3 August 2011 for the Security Council to be able to make a modest non-binding ‘Presidential Statement’ on the situation. Despite having acknowledged the gravity of the situation in Syria, those countries continued to block robust measures under the pretext of displeasure with what was done in Libya.
PHILIPPE DAM, of Human Rights Watch, said that there had been arbitrary arrests of tens of thousands of persons and widespread torture which had sometimes resulted in death during the unrest in Syria. There was documentation to prove that standing orders were given by Syrian military officers to beat, torture and fire on innocent demonstrators in the country. The ongoing level of abuse had underscored the need for the Human Rights Council to take immediate measures by urging the Security Council to support immediate access for the Commission of Inquiry.
LEO TWIGGS, of International Commission of Jurists, said the Human Rights Council should adopt the draft resolution establishing a Special Rapporteur and recommend that the General Assembly and Security Council take appropriate measures in order to prevent the continuing deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria. The General Assembly should suspend the Syrian Arab Republic from participation in the work of the General Assembly until its authorities accepted and implemented the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations, stopped the gross human rights violations and held those responsible to account.
RADWAN ZIAHEH, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, and urged Russia and China to reconsider the vetoes they had exercised at the Security Council in an effort to ensure international accountability for potential crimes against humanity in Syria. Civil society also called on Brazil, India and South Africa – who thus far appeared unwilling to support reference to the International Criminal Court or sanctions against Syria at the Security Council – to act in accordance with the democratic and human rights principles on which their current governments were established, and which their citizens struggled and died for not so long ago. Brazil, India and South Africa must speak out strongly in favour of real democratic reform, an immediate end to brutal repression and the need for justice and accountability.
PAUL LAZAROW, of United Nations Watch, said the facts were clear. Syrian forces had committed crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and rape. There were documented cases of injured people who were taken to military hospitals, where they were beaten and tortured during interrogation. Children were also tortured, some to death. First, the Security Council must end its shocking silence on Syria’s atrocities. Second, UNESCO should cancel its recent decision to elect Syria to two separate committees that dealt with human rights, an election even the head of UNESCO conceded was wrong. Finally, the Council should acknowledge its long-time policy of turning a blind eye to Syria’s gross and systematic violations was wrong and harmful. The combined efforts of those policies provided an anti-democratic ruler with impunity, international legitimacy and credibility, only contributing to his current power and capacity for oppression.
SHADY AMMANE, of Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, said that the credibility of the Human Rights Council depended on how it dealt with the crisis in Syria. The Syrian authorities had presented images of so-called terrorists in Syria which were not credible. The population had been punished, starved, gassed and deprived of basic living items. There were weapons that had entered Syria from foreign countries but these weapons were for the Syrian Government to continue its violations against innocent civilians.
LAZARO PARY, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru, said that in the Syrian Arab Republic there was a repetition of what had happened in Libya where the social unrest had evolved into a civil war. The foreign policy of the old powers of Europe and the United States had regime change in Syria as one of their main objectives to break the stability in the Middle East. The major media was aligned with the United States in preventing a real understanding of the situation that would lead to the establishment of another no fly zone in Syria.
Action on Resolution
In the resolution, adopted by 37 votes in favour, 4 votes against and 6 abstentions, the Human Rights Council strongly condemns 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; urges the Syrian Government to meet its responsibility to protect its population, to immediately put an end to all human rights violations, to stop any attacks against civilians, and to comply fully with its obligations under international human rights law; recommends that the main bodies of the United Nations urgently consider the report of the Commission of Inquiry and take appropriate action; calls upon the Syrian authorities to fully cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner, including through the establishment of a field presence in the Syrian Arab Republic; decides to establish a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, once the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry ends, to monitor the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as to monitor the implementation of the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry addressed to the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic and of the Human Rights Council's resolutions on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and calls upon the Syrian Government to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur; and decides to transmit the Commission of Inquiry report to the United Nations Secretary-General for appropriate action and transmission to all United Nations relevant bodies and requests the Secretary General to present a report on the implementation of the resolution to the Human Rights Council at its nineteenth session.
The results of the vote were as follows:
In favour (37): Austria, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lybia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United States of America, and Uruguay.
Against (4): China, Cuba, Ecuador, and Russian Federation.
Abstentions (6): Angola, Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Philippines, and Uganda.
REMIGIUSZ A. HENCZEL (Poland), introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the European Union, said the text as orally revised had been circulated in the room and noted the constructive way that all delegations had worked together on the resolution. A series of informal consultations were organized on the draft resolution which condemned the continued violence and violation of human rights and had decided to establish a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Syria that would commence once the Commission of Inquiry’s work had come to an end.
VALERY LOSHCHININ (Russian Federation), speaking in a general comment, said the Russian Federation had carefully studied the draft resolution and had concluded that the document was one sided, politicized and went beyond the Council’s mandate and was designed to further exacerbate the situation in Syria rather than to resolve it. The text ignored the serious crimes committed by anti-government forces and there was no evidence or basis for calling the Government of Syria’s actions as crimes against humanity. The Russian Federation expressed concern that certain measures in the resolution would allow for military actions, including military intervention and stressed that the settlement of the situation in Syria could only come about through national reconciliation and negotiation. The Russian Federation called for a vote and would vote against the draft resolution.
JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA ROMAN (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said that once again the Council faced a draft resolution that was politically motivated and selective. Time after time the same countries only presented resolutions against countries of the south, resolutions which established negative precedents for the work of the Council. What was at stake was not a Special Rapporteur, it was the sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination of the people of Syria. Those countries wanted to repeat in Syria what they had done in Libya. Cuba called on the countries of the third world not to remain silent and to denounce those attempts that could have serious consequences for world peace, particularly the stability of the troubled area of the Middle East. It was technically a poor resolution, its supporters did not respond to Cuba’s requests for amendments, and Cuba could not support it. Cuba requested that the draft resolution be put to a vote, and Cuba would vote against it.
XIA JING GE (China), speaking in a general comment, said that making accusations and resorting to pressure would not resolve the crisis in Syria. United Nations Member States should not use force or the threat to use force to solve differences or undermine the territorial integrity of a country. The Human Rights Council should hold an impartial position and promote national reconciliation and dialogue to bring about a resolution of the crisis in Syria. The draft resolution introduced human rights issues into the Security Council. During consultations on the draft resolution, China had put forth many amendments and China would, with Russia and Cuba, request a vote and vote against it.
IBRAHIM A.E. ALDREDI (Libya), speaking in a general comment, said Libya had worked with all groups in the United Nations, including the Arab League, to obtain a resolution that was in the best interests of Syria and within the mandate of the Council. Representing people who had suffered what the people of Syria suffered today, Libya called on the Council to adopt the resolution by consensus. In answer to States who had referred to events in Libya this year, the delegate said that it was thanks to the help of the international community and the distinguished Human Rights Council that the people of Libya today lived in freedom and democracy and enjoyed human rights and equality.
FAYSAL KHABBAZ HABOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said that there had been many constructive criticisms of the report of the Commission of Inquiry which highlighted that it was biased and only presented a one sided view of the situation in Syria. The draft resolution was full of procedural and linguistic mistakes in addition to politicized paragraphs and those that were totally outside the purview of the mandate of the Human Rights Council. Syria thanked all those supportive countries that recognized the false message in the resolution. Syria said that the draft resolution should have called on all sections of the Syrian people to engage in a national dialogue to end the crisis but it had not. The resolution was biased and failed and its adoption would prejudice the credibility of this Council which would not be in the interests to the people of Syria. Syria urged all Member States to vote against the resolution.
ROSETTE NYIRINKINDI KATUNGYE (Uganda), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called upon Syria to recognize its international and regional obligations so that its citizenry could enjoy holistic human rights protection. Uganda believed Syria would tremendously benefit from cooperating with the international community, in particular the Arab League. Uganda would abstain from the vote due to procedural considerations voiced by many States, including Russia, concerning the frequent reference to intervention by the International Criminal Court.
GOPINATHAN ACHAMKULANGARE (India), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said India did not believe in intrusive monitoring. Engaging the concerned country in dialogue was more constructive. India noted the procedural irregularities which the draft resolution was built upon, and also that it went beyond the mandate of the Human Rights Council. For those reasons India would abstain from the vote.
SEK WANNAMETHEE (Thailand), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Thailand hoped that the resolution would end the violence in Syria and hoped that the Syrian authorities would immediately put an end to all violence in the country. Thailand was disappointed that no consensus was achieved on the resolution and urged the Syrian authorities to fully cooperate with the Human Rights Council.
For use of the information media; not an official record
Press releases Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council establishes Mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic
02 December 2011