The United Nations Human Rights Council (the Council) decided to hold an urgent international discussion on the deteriorating situation in Syria today, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, putting off discussion of the other items on the agenda of its 23rd session, currently convened in Geneva, to do so. This decision was made following a request for such a discussion made by Turkey, Qatar, and the United States.
During this urgent discussion, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), in collaboration with the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), presented an oral intervention to the Council on the situation in Syria, demanding swift action to put an end to the ongoing atrocities in Syria. The CIHRS and EMHRN asserted that the Council’s inaction on the matter until now represents a clear failure of the Council to fulfill the role for which it was created – protecting and promoting human rights.
In this oral intervention, CIHRS and EMHRN called on the Council to urgently address the UN Security Council and to call upon it to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, in order to ensure that investigations are begun into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria.
The oral intervention reflected growing concerns about the massacres and other serious violations of human rights in Syria, whether committed by the Syrian government or by members of the opposition. It expressed deep concern that civilians are suffering due to sniper activity, indiscriminate shelling, and lack of access to food, water, and medical aid, and that sectarian divides are escalating this already grave situation.
The oral intervention further pointed to the impact of the crisis in Syria on the region, with the influx of refugees from Syria putting significant pressure on neighboring countries and fighting between supporters of the Syrian government and its opponents killing at least 30 people in the city of Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, over the last seven days.
The current session of the Council began on Monday, May 27 and is scheduled to continue until Friday, June 14. The Council is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
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