Diplomats, Jewish leaders laud UN Syria resolution

General Assembly condemns Assad for rights violations; UN envoy Prosor: The “international community has spoken.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad with his army generals 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Syrian President Bashar Assad with his army generals 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
NEW YORK – Diplomats and Jewish leaders applauded the UN General Assembly for its first-ever resolution Tuesday condemning the violent Syrian crackdown on protests, praising the fact that many Arab countries voted in favor of the resolution.
The resolution, which is nonbinding, condemned Syria and its leader, Bashar Assad, for brutal human rights violations including “arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders.” It also denounced the use of illegitimate detentions, forced disappearances and torture of detainees.
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Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt, supported the resolution along with Israel, the US and the European Union.
Countries abstaining from the vote on the resolution included Russia, China, India and Lebanon.
Thirteen nations voted against the resolution, including Iran, North Korea and Syria itself.
China and Russia vetoed a similar measure put before the Security Council last month, which would have been a binding resolution.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said the resolution reflected that the “international community has spoken,” and the vote illustrated Syria’s loss of credibility even within the Arab world.
American Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said that by overwhelmingly adopting its first-ever resolution on Syria’s human rights abuses, the General Assembly “sent a clear message that it does not accept abuse and death as a legitimate path to retaining power.”
“This overwhelming support for the Syrian people sends another unambiguous message to Bashar Assad to end his campaign of murder, detention and torture,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said. “As President Barack Obama and other world leaders have stated, it surely is high time for Assad to step down.”
However, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch, said that the resolution amounted “to little more than a polite request for the Syrian regime to end the massacre of its own peacefully protesting citizens.”
“The text sends the wrong signal by including a section reminding member states to respect Syria’s ‘sovereignty,’” Neuer said. “Western countries may have also held the misguided hope that this bizarre disclaimer would counter arguments by the Assad regime – echoed by Russia and China – that the resolution would necessarily lead to a NATO intervention similar to that conducted in Libya.
Those that dogmatically oppose Western-sponsored initiatives will never be easily persuaded.”