UN Condemns Syrian Government For Human Rights Abuse


The UN General Assembly has voted to pass a resolution condemning the Syrian government for human rights violations and call for a transitional government.

The measure was approved by a vote of 107 to 12, with 59 member states abstaining. That was a tighter margin than in August of last year, when 133 states voted to approve a similar resolution. Russia fiercely opposed the resolution as a potential obstacle to peace talks.

The resolution strongly condemns the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on two points: the escalation of heavy weapons on civilian areas, and what Qatar, which drafted the statement, calls systematic violations of human rights.

Thursday’s resolution expresses grave concern that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, calls for unfettered access to UN investigators, and pushes again for a Syrian-led political transition, with the opposition Syrian National Coalition as the representatives of the Syrian people.

The vote came just after an announcement by Vuk Jeremic, the General Assembly president, that the death toll from Syria’s two-year civil war is at least 80,000, an increase of about 20,000 since the start of the year.

Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, said on January 2 that more than 60,000 people had been killed during the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent when government forces cracked down.

“At least 80,000 have perished since the start of the hostilities, with most of those casualties believed to be civilians,” Jeremic told the 193 members of the General Assembly before Thursday’s vote.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an opposition group, said on Tuesday that at least 94,000 people have been killed but the death toll is likely to be as high as 120,000.