Issue 291: It’s Official: Even Club of Abusers Won’t Take Syria’s Assad

GENEVA, May 11 The Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad today officially reversed itself, pulling its candidacy for a seat on the UN’s 47-nation Human Rights Council. The announcement followed a “Stop Syria” campaign led by UN Watch,which was the first to sound the alarm two months ago. Regrettably, Bahrain, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and many other notorious human rights abusers still remain on the U.N. council, shielding gross violators and fostering selectivity and politicization. UN Watch’s press release from today is here.  The Associated Press has the full story here.  Media worldwide quoted UN Watch—see selection below. Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said Damascus’ decision to delay its candidacy until 2013 was partly related to “reform measures that the government began to implement lately in all fields.”


“A coalition of 25 human rights groups headed by Geneva-based UN Watch welcomed Syria’s withdrawal. ‘The defeat and shaming of Syria’s murderous regime in the court of world opinion should be a morale boost for the courageous citizens of that country who continue to brave bullets and beatings to speak out for their universal human rights,’ said UN Watch’s Executive Director Hillel Neuer.”  The Associated Press, May 11, 2011, carried by MSNBC and The Washington Post.


Geneva-based UN Watch hailed the news but voiced concern over Kuwait being its replacement. Kuwait is ‘far better than Syria, but another non-democracy nevertheless’, the group said, according to the Reuters news agency…” “‘Kuwait to replace Syria’ for UN body bid”, Al Jazeera (English), May 10, 2011. more…



“UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group that has been campaigning against Syria’s bid, hailed the news that Damascus is expected to drop its bid but expressed concern that it might be replaced by Kuwait, which is ‘far better than Syria, but another non-democracy nevertheless.'” E. Lederer, “Diplomats: Syria out as human rights candidate,” Associated Press, May 10, 2011, carried in The Washington Post online.




“O grupo humanitário UN Watch, sediado em Genebra, fazia campanha contra a Síria e comemorou a decisão. Ainda assim, lembrou que o Kuwait ‘é muito melhor do que a Síria, mas apesar disso outra (nação) não democrática.'” Kuwait deve substituir Síria em Conselho de Direitos Humanos da ONU,” Brazil’s Agência Estado, carried in O Estado de S.Paulo, May 10, 2011.



“’The defeat of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s cynical candidacy is a welcome message to his brutalized population that the world is repulsed by the regime’s ongoing massacres,’ Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said in a press release. ‘The Asian states at the UN never should have endorsed the brutal Syrian regime in the first place. And now it would be squandering a golden opportunity if Asia’s replacement for Syria will be yet another Middle East regime that fails to meet the election criteria, which require a genuine record of promoting and protecting human rights.’”— Jordana Horn, “Kuwait may replace Syrian bid for seat on UNHRC, Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2011.




“‘La défaite du régime cynique du président Bachar el-Assad est un signal bienvenu à son peuple brutalisé que le monde est choqué par la poursuite des massacres en Syrie’, a commenté Hillel Neuer, directeur exécutif d’UN Watch.” — “La Syrie contrainte de renoncer à sa candidature au Conseil des droits de l’homme,” L’Agence Télégraphique Suisse story published in Geneva’s Le Temps, May 10, 2011.



“The human rights group U.N. Watch says Kuwait is “far better than Syria, but another non-democracy nonetheless” and points out that, according to the U.S. State Department, Kuwaitis have ‘limited freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion’ and women don’t enjoy equal rights.” — Uri Friedman, “Syria Might Not Get That Human Rights Council Seat, After All,” The Atlantic Wire, May 10, 2011.


“The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch said in statement today that Syria is ‘expected to drop its bid’ for a seat on the council, while also citing the U.S. State Department’s assessment that Kuwaitis have ‘limited freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association and religion.'” — “Syria’s Bid for UN Human Rights Council Said to Be Derailed,” May 10, 2011, Bloomberg report carried in San Francisco Chronicle.



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