Washington — The United States and Turkey introduced a draft resolution condemning the Assad regime’s human rights violations in Syria and reaffirming the international community’s support for Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s transition plan at the U.N. Human Rights Council session in Geneva on July 6.
Addressing members of the council, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe called for increased international pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to halt the ongoing violence against Syria's civilians and allow greater access for humanitarian assistance groups in the country.
“The Assad regime is waging a brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people, characterized by aerial bombardment, mass killings, summary executions, torture including rape, and other atrocities,” she said. “We demand an end to these outrageous crimes against the people of Syria.”
With more than 50 co-sponsors, the draft resolution emphasizes international support for the Syrian-led political transition plan agreed upon at the recent meeting of the Geneva Action Group in June. It urges continued documentation of human rights abuses so that those responsible may be held accountable.
Donahoe also encouraged members of the Assad regime’s security forces to recognize that their allegiance lies with the Syrian people that they have sworn to protect.
“We have a clear message to the Syrian security forces: Don’t let Assad abuse your national loyalty. Your mission as the armed forces of Syria is to protect the Syrian people, not to prolong Assad’s hold on power," she said. “The way to meet your responsibility is to end the repression and help set up a broad-based interim administration that will lead Syria to a democratic future.”
Though two U.N. Security Council resolutions authorized the dispatch of U.N. observers to monitor the fragile cease-fire between the Syrian government and opposition forces in late April, the observers suspended their activities in June as violence again erupted.
In violation of the Security Council resolutions and the Annan six-point plan launched in February, the Assad regime has continued to use heavy weapons and troops against civilians, restrict fundamental freedoms, and detain activists and journalists, Donahoe said.
“The actions of the Assad government are contrary to the principles and values upon which the Human Rights Council was founded. No state that engages in such actions should ever serve on this Council,” Donahoe said. The United States opposes Syria’s bid to join the council in 2014.
The U.N. estimates that more than 9,000 civilians have died since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011.