UNITED NATIONS, Oct 7 (KUNA) -- Less than a week after Russia and China blocked the adoption of a draft resolution condemning Syria in the Security Council for killing its own people, dissidents and human rights groups circulated a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly's 193 Member States seeking adoption of a similar text, the Geneva-based rights group 'UN Watch' said in a statement circulated here.
As the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva began Friday its quadrennial review of Syria's human rights record, a coalition of 20 famous dissidents and rights groups rejected Syria's report as "fictional," and circulated a draft resolution to all 193 Assembly members to "strongly condemn" Syria's mass killing of its own citizens.
It also urges the creation of a permanent UN investigator (Special Rapporteur) on the human rights situation in Syria.
The issue will first be referred to the Assembly's Social Committee, known as the "Third Committee" where all human rights abuses throughout the world, from Iran to Cuba, are debated. The Committee usually adopts resolutions, sponsored by the western countries, condemning the various regimes for those abuses. The resolutions move to the Assembly a few weeks later for adoption.
UN Watch said the sponsors of the anti-Syria draft resolution include well-known former political prisoners Yang Jianli of China, Ahmad Batebi of Iran, Fidel Suarez Cruz and Berta Antunez of Cuba, Rebiya Kadeer of the Uyghur people (Muslim Chinese) and Grace Kwinjeh of Zimbabwe, as well as UN rights groups, including UN Watch, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Human Rights Foundation.
According to the draft, the Assembly "strongly condemns" the "ongoing, grave and systematic human rights violations" by the Syrian authorities, including "arbitrary executions, excessive use of force, the killing and persecution of peaceful protesters and human rights defenders, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, including children." In its report to the Human Rights Council, Syria said it is "committed to promoting and protecting human rights," that it "exercised the utmost self-restraint" and "refrained from shooting on groups in order to avoid killing innocent civilians," and described the recent peaceful protests as "criminal attacks against the nation and the people by armed terrorist groups" supported by "certain western states that are bent on discrediting and weakening" Syria and getting it to "change its political position on the challenges facing the region," in a direct reference to Israel.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which heads the coalition, said "the regime is wrong, and its days are counted. We urge the UN to take action to hasten an end to the mass murder of Syria's citizens," adding that the report is "insulting to the memory of more than 2,000 innocent Syrian citizens who sacrificed their lives for the basic values of human dignity and freedom from oppression". (end) sj.sd KUNA 071437 Oct 11NNNN