On March 1, 2012 the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the human rights crisis in Syria" with 37 countries voting for the resolution, 3 against (Cuba, Russia & China) and 3 abstentions. The argument made by the diplomats of the dictatorship in Cuba are a shameful obfuscation of the facts on the ground in Syria. The analysis of the situation and the question poised by the actress and humanitarian activist Mia Farrow is on point.
On 6 February 2012, the UN Secretary General called the escalating violence in Syria, particularly the mounting death toll and continued onslaught on the city of Homs, “totally unacceptable before humanity”. The Secretary-General reminded the Government that “it is accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by its security forces against the civilian population”. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on 8 February she was appalled by the Syrian Government’s wilful assault on Homs, and its use of artillery and other heavy weaponry in what appear to be indiscriminateattacks on civilian areas in the city. Like the Secretary-General, she pointed to the obstruction of Security Council agreement on firm collective action, which had seemingly “fuelled the Syrian Government’s readiness to massacre its own people in an effort to crush dissent.” Speaking at the General Assembly on 13 February, the High Commissioner said: “The longer the international community fails to take action, the more the civilian population will suffer from countless atrocities committed against them.”The Syrian Government continues to ignore international concern over the ongoing repression. For nearly a year, our organizations have reported on the attacks by the security forces against Syrian protestors and civilians, including unlawful killings, arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances – and most recently the bombarding of civilian residential areas by the Syrian army.Many children have been among the victims. Amnesty International has received the names of 375 children killed since March 2011. Forty five of these have died since 3 February this year, 29 of them in Homs. Others, some as young as 13, have reported to Human Rights Watch that after they were arrested, officers kept them in solitary confinement, severely beat and tortured them with electro-shocks, burned them with cigarettes, and left them to dangle from metal handcuffs for hours at a time, centimetres above the floor.Like the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, we have documented crimes in Syria, that in light of their nature and scale, constitute crimes against humanity and we continue to urge the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.