Syria: UN Security Council condemns Syrian authorities for widespread violations of human rights, use of force against civilians

Yesterday (around midnight/01.00 local ME time) the United Nations Security Council through a Presidential Statement condemned the widespread violation of human rights by the Syrian regime. The full text of document S/PRST/2011/16 reads as follows:

“The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, and expresses profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people.

The Security Council condemns the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.

The Security Council calls for an immediate end to all violence and urges all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions.

The Security Council calls on the Syrian authorities to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under applicable international law.  Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable.

The Security Council notes the announced commitments by the Syrian authorities to reform, and regrets the lack of progress in implementation, and calls upon the Syrian Government to implement its commitments.

The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria.  It stresses that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly.

The Security Council calls on the Syrian authorities to alleviate the humanitarian situation in crisis areas by ceasing the use of force against affected towns, to allow expeditious and unhindered access for international humanitarian agencies and workers, and cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to update the Security Council on the situation in Syria within 7 days.”

The only country that did not join this statement was Lebanon, but they did not try to block the statement either. A Presidential Statement as opposed to a UN resolution must be unanimous, i.e. every member in UNSC has a veto. In this case Lebanon disassocited itself from the statement.

The full text of the statement can be found here.

About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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