The UN General Assembly Should Have Suspended Russia’s Membership of the Human Rights Council Over Its Illegal Intervention in Syria in 2015, As It Suspended Its Membership Over Its Intervention in Ukraine
Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) notes that Russia and its allied repressive states have consistently voted in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in favor of the Syrian regime, which is involved in crimes against humanity, adding that the UN General Assembly should have suspended Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council over its illegal intervention in Syria in 2015, as it suspended its membership over its intervention in Ukraine.
SNHR’s 10-page report discusses the report issued by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI) on February 8, 2022, which covers the period between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, that documents grave violations of fundamental human rights and humanitarian law across Syria. In this context, the report presents the most prominent points of the COI’s report, welcoming its findings and stressing the SNHR’s support for the COI’s mandate and the investigative processes it has carried out since its establishment in the summer of 2011 up to the current day, noting the continuous cooperation between the COI and SNHR since 2011.
The report refers to the HRC’s resolution adopted on April 1, 2022, by which it extended the COI’s mandate for a period of one year, adding that the findings of the resolution are in the interest of the Syrian people and state, against the perpetrators of violations. Despite this, however, Russia and repressive states with which it shares interests voted in favor of the Syrian regime, notwithstanding its engagement in committing crimes against humanity, and against the HRC’s resolution. The report names the seven countries that voted against the resolution, which are Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Armenia, and Eritrea, in contrast to the majority of 23 countries that voted in favor of the resolution and the Syrian people.
Meanwhile, the report notes that the HRC has issued 38 resolutions on the human rights situation in Syria since the beginning of the popular uprising to date, including 13 resolutions regarding the establishment of the Fact-Finding Mission which later became the International Commission of Inquiry, as well as extending its mandate. The report adds that only 12 tyrannical states have voted in favor of the Syrian regime in the HRC since March 2011, expressing their denial of the violations committed by the Syrian regime, denials which thereby effectively encouraged the regime to commit more violations by promising to secure support for it at the HRC.
The report describes these states as mutually supportive and totalitarian, further noting that all are also isolated rogue states by nature. As the report also notes, Russia and China are spearheading a coalition of oppressive countries loyal to them to vote in the Syrian regime’s favor. The report provides a map showing the 12 countries that have consistently voted against the HRC’s resolutions condemning violations against the Syrian people from March 2011 to April 2022, namely Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Burundi, Eritrea, Philippines, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Armenia, showing the number of times they voted, in order to expose those countries that voted in favor of the regime committing more violations in Syria over the past 11 years and demonstrating in a visible way how dictatorships have rallied in unity with their fellow totalitarian states and allies to vote in each other’s favor, regardless of the blatant nature of their egregious violations of human rights. The report adds that the number of countries that have voted in favor of the HRC’s resolutions on Syria since March 2011 to date has been far greater than the number of dictatorships that have voted in favor of the Syrian regime.
The report discusses the suspension of the Russian Federation’s membership of the HRC under a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on Thursday, April 7, 2022, as a result of the grave violations committed by the Russian forces after their invasion of Ukraine. The report welcomes this resolution, adding that it is a positive step within the framework of ensuring accountability for Russia for its widespread human rights violations, and is in the interest of the rights of victims in Ukraine; the report asks, however, why the UN General Assembly did not take this step towards Russia earlier after its military intervention in Syria in 2015 and its atrocious violations of human rights, which have been documented by the International Commission of Inquiry and other international and local organizations, with many of these violations amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The report stresses that the UN General Assembly has not suspended Russia’s membership after its military intervention and atrocious violations of human rights in Syria, many of which amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. This, the report reveals, encouraged Russia to commit more violations in Syria and incited it to invade Ukraine.
The report also calls on the countries of the world to respect all these resolutions and comply with them, stand in solidarity with just causes, and always vote in favor of the HRC’s resolutions condemning those nations that excessively violate fundamental human rights like the Syrian regime
The report adds that the authoritarian dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, such as those in Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt, must not be elected to the HRC, because their very nature means they will always vote against human rights worldwide, with their votes on Syria serving as a stark example of this.
The report also provides other additional recommendations.