GENEVA, Jan. 25 – For the first time in its history, the UN’s culture and education agency is preparing to condemn Syria and expel it from a human rights committee, revealed a Geneva-based human rights organization today, releasing a motion filed by the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Qatar, Kuwait and six other countries, now backed also by Japan and South Korea.

After UNESCO in November elected Syria, which already sits on its 58-member executive board, to a committee that judges human rights complaints, the independent UN Watch monitoring group launched a campaign of 55 parliamentarians, religious groups and human rights activists urging member states to reverse the decision.

In response, according to diplomatic documents obtained exclusively by UN Watch, the U.S., its EU allies, Canada, Japan and a handful of Arab states are now among a growing coalition of countries that is formally requesting an agenda item for next month’s UNESCO board meeting to “review” Syria’s controversial membership.

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