PRESS RELEASE

U.S. and EU urged by Russia, China, Cuba to water down draft U.N. resolution opposing Syria’s candidacy; vote is tomorrow in Geneva 

Rights group UN Watch urges US & EU not to give in

GENEVA, July 5 – Syria is a declared candidate for the Human Rights Council, according to a U.S.-sponsored and EU-backed draft resolution that was hotly debated in informal sessons held yesterday at the 47-nation body’s headquarters in Geneva.

The draft censure of Syria for human rights violations, to be voted on tomorrow, “stresses that the current Syrian government’s announced candidacy for the Human Rights Council in 2014 fails to meet the standards for Council membership.” (Paragraph 14.)

During the negotiations, attended by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, Russia, China, and Cuba, close allies of Syria, called for the paragraph to be deleted, saying the reference was untimely and out of place. Egypt and Brazil agreed. The U.S., European Union and Libya, however, defended keeping the reference to Syria’s bid.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer expressed concern that the paragraph might be deleted as a last-minute concession to win over council members uneasy about criticizing the credentials of countries.

“We urge the U.S. and the EU to resist the pressure by Syria’s allies, and not to water down their proposed council statement opposing the candidacy of a tyrant and mass murderer,” said Neuer.

“This would be an unprecedented moral stand for the council, one that could set a new tone for a body that has included Libya’s Gaddafi as well as Russia, China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia as members. What is vital is that there be no ambiguity about the world’s absolute revulsion for Assad’s atrocities.”

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