U.N. assembly rights committee condemns Syria
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee on Tuesday condemned Syria for its eight-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in a vote backed by Western nations and a number of Arab states.
The resolution, drafted by Britain, France and Germany, received 122 votes in favor, 13 against and 41 abstentions. Arab states that voted for it included co-sponsors Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt.
Russia and China, which vetoed a European-drafted resolution that would have condemned Syria in the U.N. Security Council last month, abstained, according to the official U.N. vote tally.
Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said the resolution had no meaning for Damascus and portrayed it as a U.S.-inspired political move.
"Despite the fact that the draft resolution was basically presented by three European states, however it is no secret that the United States of America is ... the main mind behind the political campaign against my country," he said.
"This draft resolution has no relevance to human rights, other than it is part of an adversarial American policy against my country," he added.
Ja'afari displayed for delegates what he said were documents containing the "names of terrorists arrested while smuggling arms through the borders of Syria." He said the documents offered clear proof of a U.S.-led plot to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The resolution says the committee "strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders."
It also condemns "arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children" and demands an immediate end to all such violations.
(This story corrects Russian and Chinese votes to abstain in third paragraph)