Global Policy Forum

Resolution on Syrian Crackdown Submitted to UN


The UK, France, Germany and Portugal have submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Syria for its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. The draft resolution condemns the systematic violation of the human rights by Syrian authorities. It does not provide for UN sanctions or military intervention against Syria (and so is unlike the Security Council resolutions on Libya). However, it does demand Syria comply with a UN human rights council inquiry and launch its own impartial investigation into the violence against protesters. If the draft resolution is put before the Security Council, Russia is likely to veto the resolution.

May 26, 2011

European states have submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations security council condemning Syria for its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, diplomats said.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal circulated the resolution to the 15-state council despite the risk of a veto by Russia.

The draft, obtained by Reuters, "condemns the systematic violation of human rights, including the killings, arbitrary detentions, disappearances, and torture of peaceful demonstrators, human rights defenders and journalists by the Syrian authorities".

The text, which says Syrian actions may amount to crimes against humanity, demands that Damascus comply with a UN human rights council inquiry and launch its own "credible and impartial investigation" into the violence against protesters.

Unlike resolutions passed this year on Libya, the draft does not provide for UN sanctions or military intervention against Syria. But it urges states not to supply arms to Damascus.

The text reached council members a day after a Syrian human rights group said government forces had killed at least 1,100 civilians in their two-month campaign to crush anti-government demonstrations.

"The situation warrants action by the security council," said Portugal's UN ambassador, José Filipe Moraes Cabral.

But he said it would not be easy to get a resolution on Syria through the council in the face of a potential Russian veto. "I don't want to underestimate the complex issues involved in approving such resolution," he told reporters.

UN diplomats said a vote on the resolution was unlikely before next week.

If the council remained silent it "would only embolden the Syrian leaders in the war they are waging on their own people", said Philippe Bolopion, of Human Rights Watch. "A strong message from the council is long overdue, and countries opposing it would have a lot of explaining to do."

A previous attempt to push the council into condemning the actions of President Bashar al-Assad's forces failed after Russia, India and China made clear they would oppose it.

The Europeans first pushed for a statement, but envoys said a resolution would be easier to get through a divided council. Statements require unanimous approval, while resolutions need only nine yes votes and no vetoes from the five permanent members – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China. Resolutions, unlike statements, are legally binding.

Cabral said he was confident of getting nine votes for the resolution, but avoiding a veto could be more challenging.

US officials have made clear they would rather have no council action than a vetoed resolution, envoys said. Washington fears such an outcome would send a signal to Assad that the international community is divided on the issue, which he could interpret as a green light to escalate his crackdown.

Last week, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would not support a council resolution on Syria – a longtime ally of Moscow – if it were similar to a 17 March resolution authorising military intervention in Libya.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.