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UN Security Council approves mission to supervise Syria peace plan

The UN Security Council [official website] unanimously approved a resolution [press release] Saturday to send 300 unarmed soldiers and other civilian aid to Syria for 90 days to supervise the implementation of a peace plan. The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) will track whether Syrian officials follow the UN Joint Special Envoy's six steps for ending the conflict, which the Security Council unanimously approved [JURIST report] earlier this month. Under the peace plan, Syrian officials will end military fighting, maintain communications with and free movement of UN mission officers in the country, allow access for humanitarian aid, release individuals detained without reason, provide protection to journalists and uphold the right to peaceful demonstration. The Security Council also asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] to report every 15 days on Syria's performance. Based on these updates, the Security Council may decide in the future to take additional steps toward monitoring and enforcing the cease-fire. Ban, who suggested the UNSMIS creation [statement text] last week, praised the resolution [UN News Centre report] as a move toward ending the violence and promoting democracy.

The international community has continued to call for end to the violence in Syria. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report claiming the Syrian government has executed more than 100 civilians [JURIST report] and opposition fighters during recent attacks. Also this month, Ban reaffirmed his call for an end to the violence and condemned attacks [JURIST report] by pro-government troops against civilians. Last month, the UN Human Rights Council [official website] passed a non-binding resolution [JURIST report] condemning Syrian authorities for ongoing bloodshed and violations of human rights. This official condemnation from the rights body came after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] demanded a cease-fire [JURIST report] in late February.

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