‘We want Syrian authorities to give up being in
UN rights council to put pressure on Syria
Switzerland: The UN Human Rights Council's annual session opens
Monday determined to put more pressure on Syria's hardline regime after
publication of a list of officials suspected of crimes against humanity.
“We want Syrian authorities to give up being in denial,” said one
diplomat. The Human Rights Council must “continue to put pressure on
Syrian authorities”. The annual meetings which will be opened by UN
rights chief Navi Pillay and Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser of Qatar,
president of the UN General Assembly for 2011-12, will also look into
latest developments in Iran, Libya, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and North Korea.
However debates during the first three days were expected to focus on
the nearly one-year deadly crackdown by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on
dissent in Syria.
More than 7,600 people have been killed since the uprising against
Assad's rule erupted in March, according to the Britain-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
About 90 government ministers and senior officials, including the
foreign ministers of France, Germany, Spain, Egypt and Iran, as well as
Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib, were expected to attend.
Qatar, which has backed calls for an Arab peacekeeping force in
Syria, and several other Arab countries, the European Union and the
United States have called for an “urgent debate” on the escalating
crisis on Tuesday.
“I hope that a strong political message will come from this debate
with an appeal for better access to humanitarian aid, and particularly a
humanitarian truce for which the ICRC continues to work,” said council
president Laura Dupuy Lasserre of Uruguay.
International investigators on Thursday gave Pillay a list of Syrian
military and political officials suspected of crimes against humanity
that will be discussed on March 12.
The UN-commissioned panel said it documented a widespread and
systematic pattern of gross violations by Syrian forces, “in conditions
of impunity”, since March 2011.
It said Syria's government had “manifestly failed” to protect its
people, but also said it had found instances of gross abuses committed
by rebel fighters, many of them army defectors.
The commission recommended the initiation of an inclusive political
dialogue, bringing together the government and opposition groups.
The human rights council was expected to look into a draft resolution
that would renew the panel mandate.
The council wants international pressure on the Assad regime to be
stepped up, an end to the violence and better access for humanitarian
aid, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, US ambassador to the council, told a
A European diplomat also confirmed that the annual session which
winds up on March 23 aims to agree on a “strong resolution” as the
situation on the ground continued to get worse. He called the panel list