AJC Calls UN Human Rights Report a Damning Indictment of Assad Regime
NEW YORK, Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC urged the UN Security Council to convene soonest to adopt the strongest possible measures against Syria, following a damning report on Syria’s egregious human right abuses. The report was released by a special Commission of Inquiry established by the UN Human Rights Council two months ago.
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“This catalogue of grotesque human rights abuses of Syrians, of all ages, is a chilling indictment of the Bashar al-Assad regime,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “The UN Security Council should immediately refer Assad to the International Criminal Court, and impose economic and political sanctions on Syria aimed at significantly upping the cost of his brutality.”
The UN human rights report was issued a day after the Arab League took the unprecedented action of sanctioning one of its own members. The U.S. and EU previously imposed sanctions on Damascus, and Turkey has become a severe critic, after a period of cozying up to the Assad regime. The Human Rights Council is expected to meet later this week to endorse the report, and call on the Security Council to take further actions. To date, China and Russia have blocked any meaningful measures against Syria.
“The pervasive nature, recurrence and reported readiness of Syrian authorities to use torture as a tool to instill fear indicate that State officials have condoned its practice,” concluded the Human Rights Council report, which was based on interviews with hundreds of abuse victims in Syria.
More than 250 children are among the 3,500 killed since March, according to the Human Rights Council report, which expressed grave concern that the Syrian regime has been committing “crimes against humanity.” These crimes include torture, rape, imprisonment and disappearances of persons in cities across Syria.
“The Syrian people need the urgent assistance of the international community to end this reign of human rights abuse,” said Harris. “Will the Security Council support them, or be stymied once again by Russia and China?”
Three human rights experts comprised the Commission of Inquiry. They are Paulo Pinheiro, a Brazilian diplomat who served as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; Yakin Erturk, a Turkish scholar who previously served as the Special Rapporteur on violence against women; and Karen Koning AbuZayd, an American scholar who was the Commissioner-General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) from 2005-2010.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee