U.N. Human Rights Council Condemns Violence in Syria
Freedom House welcomes the U.N. Human Right's Council (UNHRC)’s adoption of a resolution condemning "widespread and systematic” human rights violations in Syria. The resolution calls upon the Syrian government to immediately cease attacks on civilians and to allow unimpeded access by the United Nations and other aid groups to areas that have been besieged for months.
Backed by an overwhelming majority of its 47 members, the resolution closely follows the February 24 meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Tunis, Tunisia which called for al-Assad to step down, for the government to cease attacks against its citizens, and for humanitarian supplies to be allowed in some of the country's hardest hit cities. Russia, China, and Cuba voted against the resolution, once again refusing to join the international community in taking action against the growing humanitarian crisis. As permanent voting members of the U.N. Security Council, Russia and China have now twice wielded their veto powers to shield Syria from critical resolutions.
U.N. estimates indicate an international emergency in Syria, with up to 200,000 Syrians forced to flee their homes, and another 25,000 forced to flee to neighboring countries. Meanwhile, the Syrian government continues to callously disregard the safety and well-being of its citizens. It has rejected U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos’ numerous pleas to visit the country to assess the severity of the humanitarian crisis.
Freedom House continues to call for international pressure on President al-Assad to step down and to end to the almost yearlong humanitarian crisis in Syria. We urge Syria to allow U.N. relief workers to enter the country, and call on Russia and China to join the international community in defending human rights and security.