AJC Decries UNESCO Failure to Remove Syria From Human Rights Committee
NEW YORK, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC is dismayed by UNESCO’s failure to expel Syria from the world body’s committee that handles human rights issues.
“We are simply dumbfounded that the UNESCO executive committee, while reprimanding Syria, did not go further and oust Syria from its human rights body,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Naming Syria to this UNESCO committee in the first place last November was a horrible mistake, and now the Syrian people have been let down.”
The UNESCO leadership, meeting in Paris, voted 35-8 today to adopt a resolution that “strongly condemns the continued widespread and systematic violation of human rights” in Syria, but did not mention its committee membership. More than 7,500 Syrians have died in the internal conflict that began a year ago.
The U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion, said the U.S. “is profoundly disappointed that this resolution does not call for outright removal” of Syria from the committee.
Several Arab and European countries had joined with the U.S. in pressing for Syria to be removed from the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, the UNESCO body that deals with human rights.
The UNESCO meeting took place as UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos is visiting Syria to assess the situation in the city of Homs, which endured a month-long brutal attack by Syrian forces.
Last year Syria, under pressure from Arab countries, withdrew its candidacy to serve on the UN Human Rights Council. The UNESCO committee appointment is for two years.
“The Assad regime deserves no less than maximum international isolation,” said Harris. “Countries are closing embassies and imposing sanctions, but UNESCO inexplicably gives Syria a pass.”
SOURCE American Jewish Committee