At an Special Session in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Syria’s human rights abuses and calling for a UN Mission to investigate the violence…
The resolution expresses “grave concern with respect to alleged deliberate killings, arrests, and instances of torture of peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities,” and “unequivocally condemns the use of lethal violence against peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities…”
The US resolution was revised to win more support; initial language calling for an official Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violence, as was called for in Libya, was changed to instead be handled by Human Rights Council staffers, though language still suggests a gathering of evidence, saying the “mission” will “investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law and…establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability.”
Twenty-six countries led by the U.S. voted yes; nine, including China, Cuba, Pakistan, and Russia, voted no while another seven, among them Saudi Arabia, abstained. The U.S. also announced new sanctions on top Syrian officials, which won’t do anything to stop the shooting but will at least drive home the administration’s disapproval. I’m sorry to be a broken record but in light of Rubio’s op-ed yesterday asking why the U.S. ambassador to Syria hasn’t yet been recalled, I feel obliged to repeat: Why haven’t we walked out of the HRC yet? Forget the fact that they managed to pass a very timid resolution today. As Tapper notes, even though Syria is momentarily the most high-profile human-rights violator on the planet, the resolution still needed to be watered down a bit to attract majority support. There’s at least a practical argument for leaving our Syrian ambassador in place, in case full-fledged civil war breaks out and we need a point of contact with the opposition. What’s the argument for leaving our UNHRC ambassador in there? If we want to express moral condemnation, we have a thousand options that don’t involve legitimizing such a cretinous group.
Via the NYT, here’s the latest (graphic) cell-phone video of demonstrators being shot like animals. I recommend this Journal piece as a precis on the regional strategic considerations in toppling Assad. No one — not Lebanon, not Iraq, not Turkey, not Jordan, not even Israel — is confident in the outcome if he’s forced to abdicate.