|The UN General Assembly (photo from iaea.org)|
The UN General Assembly meets Monday (February 13) to consider a draft resolution circulated by Saudi Arabia backing the Arab League peace plan for Syria, where intense bombardment of Homs by security forces since last Saturday has left more than 400 people dead.
The president of the UN General Assembly Nasser Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, told governments earlier this week he would convene the General Assembly session on Monday to review a report on Syrian rights abuses by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. He also invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to brief the council on the matter.
The Saudi-sponsored draft (see full text below) includes much of the same language in the UN Security Council resolution vetoed by Russia and China last week, chiefly because it called on President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. The Assembly draft also invites UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a special envoy for Syria.
There are no vetoes in the 193-nation General Assembly. And although Assembly resolutions are not binding on members, but were the Syria text to pass it would put added pressure on Assad’s regime.
Following is the full text of the Assembly draft circulated by Saudi Arabia:
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 66/176 of 19 December 2011, as well as Human Rights Council resolutions S/16-1, S/17-1 and S/18-1,
Expressing grave concern at the deterioration of the situation in Syria, in particular the ongoing human rights violations and use of violence by the Syrian authorities against its population,
Reaffirming the role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security as set out in Chapter VIII of the Charter,
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the principles of the Charter,
Reaffirming that all Member states of the United Nations should refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or act in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,
Welcoming the engagement of the Secretary-General and all diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the crisis,
1. Commends the League of Arab States for its efforts in promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, and welcomes in this regards the League of Arab States' Action Plan of 2 November 2011 and its subsequent decisions, including its decision of 22 January 2012
2. Strongly condemns the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities, such as the use of force against civilians, arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protestors, human rights defenders, and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture, sexual violence, and ill-treatment, including against children;
3. Calls upon the Syrian government to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians, protect its population, fully comply with its obligations under applicable international law and fully implement Human Rights Council resolutions S-16/1, S-17/1, S-18/1 and its resolution 66/176, including by cooperating fully with the independent international commission of inquiry;
4. Condemns all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, and calls upon all parties in Syria, including armed groups, to immediately stop all violence or reprisals in accordance with the League of Arab States' initiative;
5. Stressing again the importance to ensure accountability and the need to end impunity and hold to account those responsible for human rights violations, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity,
6. Demands that the Syrian government, in accordance with the Plan of Action of the League of Arab States of 2 November 2011 and its decision of 22 January 2012, without delay:
- cease all violence and protect its population;
- release all persons detained arbitrarily due to the recent incidents;
- withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and return them to their original home barracks;
- guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations;
- allow full and unhindered access and movement for all relevant League of Arab States' institutions and Arab and international media in all parts of Syria to determine the truth about the situation on the ground and monitor the incidents taking place; and
- allow full and unhindered access to the League of Arab States' observer mission;
7. Fully supports the League of Arab States' 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States' auspices, in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States;
8. Calls upon the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the League of Arab States' observer mission, in accordance with the League of Arabs States' Protocol of 19 December 2011;
9. Calls upon all Member States to provide support to the Arab League initiative, as requested;
10. Calls upon the Syrian authorities to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance in order to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to persons in need of assistance;
11. Requests/Invites the Secretary-General to provide support to the efforts of the League of Arab States, including its observer mission, both through good offices aimed at promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, including through the appointment of a Special Envoy, as well as through technical and material assistance;
12. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution, in consultation with the League of Arab States, within 15 days of its adoption.