U.N. votes to condemn Syria over rights violations

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said after a closed-door meeting of the General Assembly that a national cease-fire in Syria is now more likely because the countries participating in two rounds of talks in Vienna "have an interest in a cease-fire." (Reuters)

A U.N. General Assembly committee strongly condemned human rights violations in Syria’s nearly five-year war on Thursday and said perpetrators of war crimes should face trial.

A resolution presented by Saudi Arabia was adopted by a vote of 115 to 15, with 51 abstentions. China, Iran and Russia were among the countries that voted against the measure that now goes to the full General Assembly.

The resolution expresses “outrage” at the worsening violence that has left at least 250,000 dead and displaced more than 12 million people.

It stressed the need for accountability and encouraged the UN Security Council to take action, noting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could play a role.

An attempt last year to refer Syria to the ICC for war crimes was blocked by Russia, Syria’s ally, and China at the Security Council.

Presenting the resolution, Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi recalled images of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, a Syrian boy who drowned during his family’s flight from the war.

“I appeal to you not to let Alan down. Do not kill him twice,” said the Saudi ambassador to the assembly.

The resolution condemned attacks committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, but it deplored the “continued, widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights” by the Syrian authorities and its associated militias.

Last year the resolution was adopted by a stronger margin, with 125 countries voting in favor, 13 against and 47 abstentions.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46