Rights Groups Welcome UN Draft on Syria, Urge Creation of Investigator

GENEVA, Nov. 17– In an attempt to influence a UN resolution on Syrian abuses now being debated by member states, a coalition of 20 famous dissidents and rights groups today circulated their own draft which specifically calls for the post of an independent UN expert to investigate gross violations in that country. Click here for proposed UNGA Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Syria.

“We welcome the draft UN General Assembly resolution on Syria, and congratulate Britain, France and Germany for their initiative,” said Hillel Neuer, director of the non-governmental UN Watch monitoring group in Geneva, which sent the draft to 193 UN member states on behalf of a coalition of human rights groups and dissidents. “We strongly hope that Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Morocco and Kuwait will stand up and be counted as co-sponsors.”

Sponsors of the NGO 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 and Grace Kwinjeh of Zimbabwe, as well as UN Watch, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights, Human Rights Foundation and Viet Tan.

The text was drafted at a recent summit of dissidents held in New York during the UN General Assembly, which included an opening address by Syrian rights activist Rami Nakhleh.

The dissidents’ draft calls upon the Human Rights Council to “urgently establish the mandate of a Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, to monitor the situation in the country, collect information and recommend to the UN system actions to be taken.”

The NGO text also asks the Secretary-General to report on Syria to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council at its next sessions, and would ensure discussion of the Syrian human rights situation at future sessions.

The debate on the official UN text is expected within the next week at the world body’s Third Committee on human rights, which meets this month in New York.

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