UN SC condemns rights abuses and use of force against civilians in Syria

UNITED NATIONS, August 4 (Itar-Tass) —— The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, August 3, condemned the widespread violation of human rights in Syria and the use of force against civilians by the country’s security forces.

The Security Council called for an end to the violence and urged all sides to act with restraint and refrain from reprisals, including attacks against State institutions.

It voiced its profound regret at the deaths of hundreds of the people during mass protests in Syria and urged the authorities in Damascus to fully respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international law.

“Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable,” the Council said in a presidential statement read by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month.

Syria has been rocked by deadly civil unrest since mid-March, driven by calls for greater civil liberties. The strife followed similar protests across North Africa that toppled entrenched regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, led to conflict in Libya and caused unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, the U.N. news centre said.

The Security Council took note of Syria’s stated commitment to the implementation of reforms, but expressed regret over the lack of progress, calling on the Government to carry out the promised political changes.

It also called on Syrian authorities to follow through on commitments they had made to reform, stressing that the only solution to the crisis was through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that addressed the legitimate concerns of the population and allowed the exercise of the freedoms of expression and assembly.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council also reaffirmed its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria.

It stressed, “The only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations of and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly.”

The Security Council called upon the Syrian authorities to respond to the humanitarian needs of people in areas affected by the unrest by ceasing the use of force to allow quick and unhindered access by relief workers.

“The Security Council calls on the Syrian authorities to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under applicable international law. Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable,” the statement said.

The Syrian authorities should also cooperate fully with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Council added. It requested the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to update it on the situation in Syrian within seven days.

The Security Council called on the Syrian authorities “to alleviate the humanitarian situation in crisis areas by ceasing the use of force against affected towns, to allow expeditious and unhindered access for international humanitarian agencies and workers, and cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights”.

Lebanon, one of the Council’s non-permanent members, dissociated itself from the presidential statement, but did not seek to block its adoption. Caroline Ziade of Lebanon said the text did not help to address the current situation in Syria. She stressed the interconnectedness of the two countries and said that the Lebanese people stood in support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and the unity and safety of its people. She expressed regret over the loss of life and gave condolences to victims, and she hoped that reforms announced by the Syrian authorities would lead to progress and prosperity.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Security Council’s statement, saying it sent a “clear message from the international community” to the Syrian authorities to stop their “brutally shocking” actions. He once again urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop all acts of violence and urged him to address the aspirations of his citizens.


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