UN condemns Syria for human rights violations

A UN General Assembly committee strongly condemned human rights violations in Syria's nearly five-year war on Thursday and said perpetrators of war crimes should  face trial, reported AFP.

A resolution presented by Saudi Arabia was adopted by a vote of 115 to 15, with 51 abstentions.

China, Iran and Russia were among the countries that voted against the measure that now goes to the full General Assembly, according to AFP.

The resolution expresses "outrage" at the worsening violence that has left at least 250,000 dead and displaced more than 12 million people.

It stressed the need for accountability and encouraged the UN Security Council to take action, noting that the International Criminal Court could play a role.

An attempt last year to refer Syria to the ICC for war crimes was blocked by Russia, Syria's ally, and China at the Security Council.

Russia has vetoed at least four Security Council resolutions that would have condemned Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's government and threatened it with sanctions. 

Presenting Thursday’s resolution, Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi recalled images of three-year-old Aylan, a Syrian boy who drowned during his family's flight from the war.

"I appeal to you not to let Aylan down. Do not kill him twice," said the Saudi ambassador to the assembly.

Syria's UN envoy responded by attacking Saudi Arabia, accusing Riyadh of financing Wahhabi extremists and failing to uphold human rights on its own territory.

"Can anyone consider the Saudi regime as a pluralistic, democratic system where women participate fully and effectively?" asked the envoy, Bashar Jaafari.

He accused the Saudi regime of "decapitation and flogging in public squares, (and of) religious persecution similar to what the terrorists of Daesh are doing in my country and Iraq," a reference to the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (ISIS).

The resolution condemned attacks committed by ISIS group, but it deplored the "continued, widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights" by the Syrian authorities and its militias.

Last year the resolution was adopted by a stronger margin, with 125 countries voting in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions.

Despite his own country’s questionable human rights record, the Syrian envoy’s comments do have some merit, as Saudi Arabia is notorious for its violations of human rights and specifically those of women, employing a religious police whose job is to enforce Islamic Sharia law.

One of the most notorious practices in Saudi Arabia is the ban on women driving, which has been targeted by a long-standing campaign which has urged women to defy the ban

In another example, Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Shiite cleric who called for pro-democracy protests to death.

Yet despite its violation of human rights, Saudi Arabia recently has a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), being one of several countries with questionable human rights records to win seats in this body.

Saudi Arabia's envoy to the UNHRC was in September selected to head an influential panel on human rights, despite Riyadh's own poor track record for human rights issues.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/203681

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