Now the UN General Assembly Discusses Situation in Syria

Human Wrongs Watch

New York, 13 February – The UN General Assembly began meeting on 13 Feb. to discuss the situation inside Syria, where thousands of people have been killed as a result of the Government’s ongoing crackdown against a pro-democracy uprising.

UN General Assembly | Credit: UN

The General Assembly meeting takes place only few days after the UN Security Council failure to adopt specific actions against the dictatorial regime in Syria and aimed at halting its brutal repression against civilian population. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will brief Member States on the latest developments, while representatives of more than a dozen countries are also scheduled to address the meeting, the UN reports.

The 193-member General Assembly will also discuss the report of the UN Human Rights Council from December last year in which that body strongly condemned abuses by Syrian authorities carried out as part of the crackdown.

More than 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising – part of the broader Arab Spring movement across North Africa and the Middle East – began in March last year, and senior UN officials have repeatedly urged the Government to stop the violence and hold dialogue with opposition groups.

Harrowing Situation for Children

on 9 February, and after another day of deadly violence in Syria, a senior United Nations official added her voice to calls on the country’s Government to stop the killing and maiming of children.

Over the past months, the number of child victims in Syria has climbed into the hundreds and the rate is increasing,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, in a statement.

The situation is particularly harrowing in Homs where reports of the killing of children and shelling of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, are received daily.”

Top UN officials have repeatedly called on the Government to end its violence against the Syrian people, amid a rising death toll that has surpassed 5,000 since the uprising began in March, and to seek a peaceful and durable solution to the crisis.

Coomaraswamy is the latest official to call on the protection of children in the country. Earlier this week the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) voiced its concern over reports that children are being arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sexually abused while in detention.

Detention, Ill-treatment, Acts tantamount to Torture, Sexual Abuse…

We have reported cases of detention of children charged with alleged association with armed groups, ill-treatment, and acts tantamount to torture which have resulted in some child deaths,” Coomaraswamy stressed, adding that her office and its partners would continue to report on the violations committed by all parties in Syria against children.

The day before, 8 February, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists that the UN and the League of Arab States are considering sending a joint observer mission to Syria to try to end the crisis. His statement came a few days after the Security Council failed to pass a draft resolution that endorsed an Arab League plan to resolve the conflict.

There are reports of children being arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sexually abused while in detention,” UNICEF said in a statement on 7 February, adding that reported heavy shelling by Government forces of civilian neighbourhoods in the city of Homs in recent days is no doubt causing further suffering for more children.

Even One Child Killed Is One Child Too Many

This must stop. Even one child killed in the violence is one child too many,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

We urge the Syrian authorities to allow help to all those who need it desperately.”

UNICEF said it does not have access to the affected areas of Homs and cannot confirm the impact of the attacks there, but there are credible reports, including from international media inside the city, that children are caught up in the violence.

Those injured must be given immediate and unconditional access to specialized medical care,” stressed the agency.

According to media reports, Syrian troops have escalated their assault on Homs, using heavy artillery and shelling against civilians as part of their wider crackdown against a public pro-democracy movement that emerged early last year.

Read also:

The US and Its Middle East Proxies … And Now Syria?

Now That Syria Has A Transitional Council—What Will NATO Do? 

‘Syrian Forces Have Committed Crimes against Humanity’

Syria: Massive Human Rights Violations, Torture of Children

Syria: Death, Shortage of Food, Water and Medical Services  

Syria: Bullets, Fists and Electric Cables against Protestors

Syria: No Light at the End of the Tunnel… So Far

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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