The UN’s two pro-Syrian amendments


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GENEVA, August 12, 2020 — United Nations Watch (UN Watch) is pleased to announce that Simon Plosker, formerly of HonestReporting, will join UN Watch on September 1st as

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Colum Lynch’s latest Foreign Policy blog post offers informative analysis of the UN forces — including China, Russia, and Islamic and Arab states — which have rallied behind Syria at the Security Council, and, with less success, at the Human Rights Council, where, in a special session on April 29, the US managed to win a majority for a robust condemnation of Syria and the creation of an investigative mission.

Lynch refers to failed amendments that were presented by the OIC and Egypt — some of which were written by Syria itself — that attempted to dramatically weaken the text. UN Watch has the full text of these pro-Syrian proposals here.

In fact, two of the amendments, regrettably, did make it into the final text. First, there was the insertion of Preambular Paragraph (PP) 8:

Reaffirming that all UN member states shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations,

This is a transparent attack on the legitimacy of the Western-backed intervention in Libya, and more generally on the very principle of Responsibility to Protect.

Second, there was the deletion of the original Operational Paragraph (OP) 7, which referred to Syria’s bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council and the election criteria of UNGA Resolution 60/251.

Both of these negative changes were slammed by the EU in its comment after the adoption of the resolution. Here’s the statement by Hungarian Ambassador Andreas Dekany on behalf of the EU:

General Comment of the EU after the vote, 16th Special Session
Thank you Madame President. I have the honor to make this general comment on behalf of member states of the EU who are members of the Human Rights Council. Madame President, we are grateful that this resolution has been adopted with a large majority. We thank everybody for the flexibility in this context. On PP8 of the adopted text, we have to express our regret that this text was introduced at a late stage. We feel that the substance of the amendment falls outside of the mandate of this Council and should not find its place in a Human Rights Council resolution. We would like to reiterate that according to the resolution 60/251, members of the Council should abide by the highest human rights standards, and this important notion should have been reflected in the adopted resolution. We feel it is particularly important given the violations of human rights which have taken place in Syria in recent weeks. We supported this resolution on this understanding and the resolution has the support of the EU as a whole. I thank you, Madame President.