Human Rights Council to hold third successive special session on Syria
Thursday, 01 December 2011 19:01


On 2 December 2011, the Human Rights Council (the Council) will hold its 18th special session on ‘The situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic in the light of the report of the Commission of Inquiry’. Despite two previous special sessions on the situation in Syria the violence has continued. , The request for the special session, submitted by the European Union (the EU), was signed by 28 member States of the Council, including fellow Arab States Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and 40 observer States.


The call for this special session follows the release, on 28 November, of the report of the Commission of Inquiry (the Commission), which found that members of the Syrian military and security forces have committed ‘crimes against humanity’ in 2011. The Commission of Inquiry was set up through a resolution adopted by the Council at its 17th special session in August, to investigate all allegations of human rights violations committed by Syrian authorities. The Commission was to be dispatched to Syria but was refused permission to enter the country by the Syrian authorities. As a result, the Commission was not able to base its report on direct observation. However, it concluded that gross human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity had indeed been committed by the Syrian military and police and called upon the Syrian Government to immediately stop the violence against protesters and to allow independent investigation into all allegations. In addition, it regretted that the Government had repeatedly refused to cooperate with the Commission.


At the time of submission of the request for the special session, the EU also submitted a draft resolution. Informal negotiations were held on 30 November to discuss the draft, and are continuing at present. As expected, there was strong opposition both to the calling of the special session and to the draft resolution, not only from Syria, but also from China, Cuba, and the Russian Federation. Opposition centred around the timing of the special session, which these States considered is premature, arguing that there has not yet been time to study the Commission’s report; and around the draft resolution, which was described as ‘biased’ and ‘aggressive’. Particular criticism was directed towards the resolution’s lack of condemnation of attacks by opposition groups, the perceived failure to balance the call to the Government to end the violence with a call to the opposition groups to do likewise,   and the omission of reference to the positive steps that Syria had been.  The Russian Federation added that the draft should explicitly rule out military intervention and include reference to principles of State sovereignty and integrity.


The special session will be held on 2 December from 10am in room XX of the Palais des Nations. ISHR will provide a report on its website. You can also follow the special session on Twitter

© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2019