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UN rights body passes resolution condemning Syria violence

The UN General Assembly's Human Rights Committee on Tuesday approved a draft resolution [materials] condemning recent human rights violations in Syria [press release; video]. The non-binding resolution, drafted by the UK, France and Germany, passed by a vote of 122-13, with 41 abstentions. The resolution, "Strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children." It also, "Calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately put an end to all human rights violations, to protect their population and to fully comply with their obligations under international human rights law, and calls for an immediate end to all violence in the Syrian Arab Republic." The nations that sponsored the resolution hope it will be a first step in bringing the matter back before the UN Security Council [BBC report].

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that Syrian governmental forces have been committing crimes against humanity [JURIST report], including torture and unlawful killings of anti-government protesters in Homs, Syria [map]. Also this month, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] announced that the death toll of Syrian protesters has exceeded 3,500 [JURIST report]. In October, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] urged [statement] the international community to take steps to protect civilian lives in Syria [JURIST report]. The violence has been condemned [JURIST report] by both the UN and the Arab League.

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