Syria Daily: Russia Blocks Security Council Meeting on Human Rights


By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – March 20, 2018  – As pro-Assad forces carry out another mass killing in Syria, in East Ghouta near Damascus, Russia has blocked a UN Security Council meeting on human rights.“We do not see any justification for this meeting since human rights is not a subject on the agenda of the Security Council,” said Gennady Kuzmin, Russia’s Deputy Ambassaador.

France and six other members called for the meeting, which would have included a briefing from Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Kuzmin asked for a procedural vote and only eight delegations voted in favor of having the meeting, one short of the number required.Hussein and the UN team investigating the Syrian situation have said that the forces of the Assad regime, backed by Russia, has carried out acts which are likely war crimes.

“Our council needs to have all necessary information to understand the crisis that it is examining, including those pertaining to human rights. And this is particularly the case in Syria,” said French Ambassador Francois Delattre.The delegations favoring a meeting later held an informal session addressed by Hussein, who criticized the Security Council for inaction amid mass killings, detentions, and torture:

The Syrian conflict has been characterized by its absolute disregard for even the most minimal standards of principle and law….The Security Council has not lived up to the sacrifice of these heroes throughout Syria. It has not taken decisive action to defend human rights and prevent further loss of life.Implicitly referring to Russia, Hussein criticized the use of the veto in the Council to shield “perpetrators of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Syria and elsewhere” from justice: “This failure to protect the lives and rights of millions of people is corroding not only the work but also the legitimacy of the UN.”

Up to 22 people were slain in East Ghouta on Monday as pro-Assad forces continued to consolidate their seizure of more than half the territory in a seven-week offensive.

There has been a reduction in deaths in the past two days, with “only” about 35 people — including 11 children and eight women — killed. However, pro-Assad attacks continued on towns such as Douma, the center of East Ghouta, and Ein Tarma. The pro-Assad assault, including intense Russian airstrikes, has killed more than 1,500 people since early February. Thousands have been wounded and many bodies are still under rubble.

Last week, the UN said about 12,000 civilians have fled to regime frontlines, while many others have moved deeper into East Ghouta, held by the opposition since 2012.  More via