Human Rights Council to hold its fourth special session on Syria
Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:12


On 1 June 2012, the Human Rights Council (the Council) will react to the massacre in El-Houleh in Syria by holding a special session. The special session is the fourth on Syria,[1] and the latest attempt by the international community to come to terms with the ever-deteriorating human rights situation in the country. While previous resolutions of the Council have already condemned these violations, the special session intends to set up yet another fact-finding mission, with an explicit mandate to coordinate with ‘relevant UN mechanisms’. Discussions in the Security Council have not seen a breakthrough since the adoption of Resolution 2043 in April, and the special session in the Human Rights Council may be part of an attempt at moving those talks forward. 


The Council’s 19th special session is on the 'deteriorating human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and the recent killings in El-Houleh'. The request for the special session, was submitted by the European Union (the EU), Denmark, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States of America and supported by 23 Members of the Council and 33 observer States.


The call for this special session follows last week’s massacre in the town of El-Houleh that drew international condemnation and prompted the US and at least a dozen other nations to expel Syrian diplomats on Tuesday. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that the majority of the 108 victims in El-Houleh were women and children shot at close range, and that entire families were killed in their own homes.


There was no opposition expressed to the calling of the special session. At the organisational meeting, Qatar justified this fourth special session on Syria with reference to last week’s horrific events. Turkey too stressed that the human rights abuses that the massacre represented required urgent attention and action by the Council.


The draft resolution, currently under negotiation, calls for the Council President to establish and immediately dispatch an independent fact-finding mission to conduct an 'immediate and unfettered investigation' into the killings, and to report to the Council's 20th session (to start in June), followed by a full report and interactive dialogue at the 21st session. The draft also calls for the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy, Mr Kofi Annan, to brief the Council at its 20th session.


The special session is to start at 11 am on Friday, 1 June in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. ISHR will provide a report on its website. You can also follow the special session on Twitter

[1] This session follows the first special session on the human rights situation in Syria on 29 April 2011, the second on 22 August 2011, and the third on 2 December 2011


Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 16:15
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2019