Ambassador Donahoe: The Syrian People Cannot Wait

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 22, 2011
Ambassador Donahoe Addresses UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Syria

Update:Statement on the Adoption by the Human Rights Council of a Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Syria

Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, delivered a statement at the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic on August 22, 2011. Ambassador Donahoe said:

"For the second time this year, we join a special session on the human rights situation in Syria to make clear the international community's grave and growing concerns over the rapidly deteriorating situation there.

"We condemn in the strongest terms, the ongoing slaughter and callous brutality unleashed by the Asad regime against the Syrian people.

"The Syrian government's abuses have been condemned by leaders in the region and from every region of the world. Increasingly, the international community is speaking with one voice to denounce the Syrian regime's horrific violence.

"The condemnation from Syria's neighbors shows that the Asad regime is more isolated than ever.

"Our message to the Syrian Government is clear: We will not turn a blind eye as you deliberately and ruthlessly imprison, torture, and kill your own citizens.

"To the brave people of Syria who are demanding freedom and dignity, we send the message that the world stands by you, and we will not ignore your plight.

"The human rights situation in Syria is extremely grave and deteriorating. The death toll continues to rise. Regime security forces continue to engage in house-to-house raids, mass arrests, and the torture of prisoners. We have heard multiple accounts from human rights groups of the Asad regime's security forces interrogating and abusing detainees in large facilities such as stadiums and factories. There are also credible reports of detainees being tortured to death and of bodies returned to families bearing signs of torture.

"The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict also reported this week of allegations that children have been tortured by security forces.

"The United States deplores Asad's campaign of ever-increasing brutality and terror against unarmed innocents, which may amount to crimes against humanity. The regime's horrific actions -- the systematic violence, the mass arrests, and the outright murder of civilians -- show its disdain for the will of the Syrian people, and for the calls of the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, regional leaders and the international community to end the violence immediately.

"Asad's chosen course also defies the clear demands contained in the UN Security Council's Presidential Statement. And the regime's continued assault on civilians flies in the face of a commendable initiative by the Turkish government, which warned the Asad regime that it must halt its attacks on civilians immediately and unconditionally.

"This is not the work of the fictional 'armed gangs' invoked by Asad's propagandists. The regime has made a conscious choice to continue to deploy security forces throughout the country to prevent demonstrations, to attack civilians, and to arrest activists and protesters on a massive scale. The Asad regime has no intention of ceasing its violent attacks against the Syrian people.

"We welcome the recent report of the Syria Fact Finding Mission, called for at this Council's April 29 Special Session. We also welcome the statements made by the Security Council, including the August 3 Presidential Statement. Today we must take firmer actions to halt the ongoing crackdown against the Syrian people. The United States supports the call for an international, transparent, independent and prompt investigation into alleged violations of international human rights law by Syrian authorities. And we will work with our partners so that those responsible for crimes will be held accountable, either through the courts of a democratic Syria or through international processes.

"The Syrian people cannot wait. As President Obama said last week, 'the time has come for President Asad to step aside… We recognize that it will take time for the Syrian people to achieve the justice they deserve. There will be more struggle and sacrifice. It is clear that President Asad believes that he can silence the voices of his people by resorting to the repressive tactics of the past. But he is wrong…It is time for the Syrian people to determine their own destiny, and we will continue to stand firmly on their side'."

You can read a complete transcript of Ambassador Donahoe's statement here.



August 23, 2011

Linda in Syria writes:

We are demanding freedom allright, from you and your misguided notion to free us. We were quite a peaceful secure country before you started supporting insurgents and extremists in our country. You know what you are doing and you continue to lie. Thanks but no thanks we don't want any interefernce in our country.

Virginia, USA
August 29, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

I think the State Department is on the right track but keep in mind the Leader of Syria is very close to the Saudi King of Arabia, King Abdoulah. I agree with our Diplomatic handling of this country, only what influence will the Saudis have in reference to donations or money going in Syria paying for the Military that is used against its own people. I would think the State Department might want to conduct a review of how much money exactly has the Saudis poured into Syria in the last ten years. Then you might see a different picture. I also agree the people should have human rights and the ability to vote freely. Women especially should have those rights. Freedom of Religon should also be included in Middle Eastern countries once the Dictators are gone!


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