UN Security Council: Stop Bickering And Vote For Human Rights In Syria

September 28, 2011

Will member states of the United Nations Security Council finally stop their bickering and start supporting the human rights of the Syrian people?

We might find out over the next 24 to 48 hours, as European member states circulated a new draft resolution to be voted on shortly. The new resolution was naturally watered down to appease opposition from Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa, who so far have opposed tough actions against the regime in Syria.

Death in custody case shocks the world

The human rights situation in Syria continues to be dire, most recently expemplified by the shocking story of eighteen-year-old Zainab al-Hosni of Homs who was decapitated, apparently while in custody of Syrian security forces. While an extreme case, her story is unfortunately hardly unique.

Syria activism
Amnesty International activists at Yale University portray ongoing violence in Syria and the Security Council's negligent reaction to it in a street theater performance. September 2011. (c) Mason Kroll

Since the beginning of the uprising six months ago, we have documented over 100 cases of Syrians who died while in custody. We have documented most of these cases on our Eyes on Syria website to increase public pressure on key members of the UN Security Council.

Unfortunately, it is in the hands of these reluctant countries—Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa—to ensure justice for the horrendous crimes committed in Syria, including torturing and killing people in custody, as only the Security Council can refer the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Syria’s case.

We believe that the crimes committed in Syria amount to nothing less than crimes against humanity as they appear to be part of a widespread, and systematic attack against the civilian population. What makes me sad (read: angry and frustrated) is the fact that the United Nations itself admits these crimes may amount to crimes against humanity and recommends a referral to the ICC. Yet, members of the Security Council have thus far blocked any meaningful action.

We have to see and wait what the final text of the resolution will be, but even if it does not meet all our demands right away, it might set up an important process such as regular reporting by the UN Secretary General and ultimately lead to real consequences for the Syrian regime if it doesn’t end its assault on peaceful protesters.

If you share my anger, please sign our petition that urges key UN Security Council members to finally show some leadership and hold perpetrators in Syria accountable. Then share the action with your friends, family, and networks.

To receive updates on this action and the latest developments in Syria and the UN Security Council, please follow me on Twitter