Oral Intervention at the United Nations Human Rights Council
June 28, 2012
Yesterday, Wednesday 27 June, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) delivered an oral intervention before the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria.
The oral intervention recognized the several attempts made by the HRC to address the human rights situation in Syria. Yet, it noted that following four Special Sessions at the Council, and numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and HRC, including the gathering of concrete evidence on crimes against humanity by the Council’s mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria, causalities in Syria are still on the rise. National human rights defenders estimate the number of those killed to be as high as 15,000, in addition to tens of thousands of victims of grave rights violations, including arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, and torture; with the UN estimating up to 1 million people, including ever increasing numbers of refugees, in need of humanitarian assistance.
CIHRS stated that the government of Syria continues to adopt disgraceful positions, as it insists to consistently break its promises to halt attacks against civilians and civilian areas. Three months have passed since the government of Syria pledged to implement the six-point plan proposed by the Joint Special Envoy to Syria. Instead, attacks against civilians are on the rise, with numbers of Syrians killed yesterday alone estimated to be over 100. The use of heavy artillery against civilian targets, as well as a full military siege in Homs, Idlib and Hama continues; as does the targeted killing of journalists who attempt to reveal what is occurring in the country.
It further said that “the unremitting efforts of Russia and China to block any and all action by the international community to halt the bloodshed and ensure accountability for crimes committed has lead toward what some call a “de facto civil war” with no end in sight.”
Ziad Abdel Tawab, CIHRS Deputy Director, said “Today, and as the bloodshed in Syria enters its 16th month, we believe that it is of great concern to witness Syrians losing hope in the United Nations to act according to its mandate of protecting civilians. Due to the continuous attempts of certain states; namely Russia and China, the UN is being gradually viewed as a body controlled by mutual interests and double standards, which in many incidents appear to rise above humanitarian considerations.” He further added that “discussions taking place on Syria at the moment could very well be the last chance for these governments to take the required steps to ensure the de-escalation of the situation.”
CIHRS also continued its efforts to push the HRC to include clear recommendations for the situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court in any resolution it adopts on Syria. It is unacceptable that this has not yet been carried out by the Council.