Members of the United Nations General Assembly vote to endorse the Arab League’s plan for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York February 16, 2012 (Reuters / Andrew Kelly)
The UN General Assembly has called on Syrian President Assad to step down. The resolution passed Thursday is worded similarly to a document vetoed in the UN Security Council by Russia and China. The adopted resolution has no executive power.
The Assembly has passed the Egypt-sponsored resolution with 137 in favor, 12 against and 17 abstaining. It blames the Syrian government for “widespread and systematic” violation of human rights, and voices support for an Arab League plan for a transition of power in the country.
Russia and China voted against it, as expected. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin lashed out at the resolution, saying it was one-sided and failed to condemn the opposition for their part of the violence as it does condemn the government. The resolution is in line with what Moscow sees as a trend “to isolate the Syrian leadership, reject any contacts with it, and impose a form of political settlement from abroad”.
“The violence in Syria must be stopped by all parties, and the necessary decisions may only be reached through an open political process led by Syrians themselves,” the Ambassador said.
US Ambassador Susan Rice, who praised the adoption of the resolution, confirmed that America’s goal is to chase the Syrian government into a corner: “Bashar al-Assad has never been more isolated. A rapid transition to democracy in Syria has garnered the resounding support of the international community. Change must now come.”
Britain, France, Egypt and some other nations supporting the resolution said it sends a powerful and clear message to the Syrian government.
China’s ambassador to the UN Wang Min backed Moscow’s position, saying: “The actions of the international community should be aimed at easing tensions, promoting political dialogue… rather than aggravating the problem.”
Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari prior to the vote warned the resolution would send a wrong message to those “behind terrorism and sabotage” in Syria and undermine the authority of the United Nations. He called the document “biased” and “sponsored by the countries involved in a hostile campaign against Damascus and interested in fuelling the conflict”.
Unlike the UN Security Council, no country has a veto right at the 193-member-strong UN General Assembly. However, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding and only serve as recommendations to the UN Security Council. This makes Thursday’s document more symbolic than policy making.
Syria has been facing violence for 11 months now. More than 5,000 people have been killed, according to UN estimates, and some 25 thousand have become refugees.
Critics of the Syrian government say it is using force against its own population in an attempt to quash a pro-democratic drive in the country. Damascus says it is under a subtle attack from abroad, as its enemies are arming and sponsoring bandits to ramp up the violence and carrying out a massive smear campaign in the international media.
Russia and China have opposed what they see as a rushed and unbalanced UN action against the Syrian government, citing the negative example in Libya, where a UN Security Council resolution, which was meant to stop violent clashes, resulted in a months-long bombing campaign and forced regime change.
Proponents of putting more pressure on Damascus accuse Moscow and Beijing of abusing their power to protect economic interests in the region. Meanwhile critics of the anti-Assad drive say the west and its allies in the Persian Gulf say they want to oust the Syrian government to cripple the country’s key regional ally Iran.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
I believe that the BRICS-ALBA-PIIGS and any non-UN groupings such as NAM may have the right to remove their map representations of their country from the UN logo.
While countries in ‘good standing’ will have no issue with being on the UN logo, it is presumptuous to place a country within the UN logo (unless blacked out or severely faded) which the UN brands a pariah with sanctions or has destroyed the economy with IMF compound interest (usury)/attacked economy via inapplicable trade regulations, or has IGNORED the pleas of, in situations of war by not sending Peacekeepers,or has sent Peacekeepers to effectively aid in an indirect form of ENGLISH colonisation.
The UN has been less than neutral to SOME nations and I believe that the map on the logo of the UN could be subject to any demand by any DISENFRANCHISED or even colonized nation to remove their country’s silhoutte from the UN logo immediately.
This is a right and a form of IP protection and demand to disallow misrepresentation that the country is a part of the UN. Some countries of course are guilty of abuses that have warranted the above actions though the intent towards international hegemony via the UN, or (recognition of microstates that skew the representation of votes by population) is equally unacceptable.
A multipolar world, not one dominated by a single grouping is safer for all the world’s citizens. All UNFAIRLY disenfranchised nations or nations believing they have been taken advantage of or manipulated or even lost language, faith and culture due to unwanted UN influence where valid, should demand that their nation’s silhoute be REMOVED or represented in a manner on a UN logo that shows a state of non-participation.
A multipolar world, made of EU, AU, ALBA, BRICS, OIC, ASEAN, UN and UIN, will be a safer and more people friendly form (also more competitive in social freedoms) than a single UN grouping dominating the world. By this suggestion UN thus should be subject to injunction that disallowes UN to misrepresent on UN’s logo, nations UN has ‘destroyed’ or ‘currently oppress’ as if those nations were treated as equals.