The international community on February 16th sent a clear message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: by a vote of 137 to 12, with 17 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that strongly condemns human rights violations by the Syrian regime. The resolution fully supports the Arab League’s January 22nd decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition.
“The UN General Assembly sent a clear message to the people of Syria: the world is with you. An overwhelming majority of UN member states have backed the plan put forward by the Arab League to end the suffering of Syrians,” said United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice.
“This resolution strongly condemns Assad’s 11-month campaign of murder and torture. It demands an end to the killing machine. It demands that the Syrian government release all political prisoners; assure the freedom of peaceful demonstrations; and guarantee full and safe access to Arab League representatives and international media, and to humanitarian aid workers, who seek only to protect a people who have endured unimaginable violence.”
According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, since February 3rd, “the Government has used tanks, mortars, rockets and artillery to pummel the city of Homs. According to credible accounts, the Syrian army has shelled densely populated neighborhoods of Homs in what appears to be an indiscriminate attack on civilian areas.” She noted that the number of people killed since last March is believed to be well over 5,400.
“The international community has just given its firm support to the Arab League's plan to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs,” said Ambassador Rice.
“The people of Syria, from Homs and Damascus to Hama and Idlib, from Aleppo to Daraa, should now know that the nations of the world stand with you and support you as you pursue a future of freedom and safety.”