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Syria set to be elected to top post in UN human rights forum

Assad regime welcomes nomination to ‘decolonization’ committee opposing ‘subjugation, domination’; on same day, UN releases report saying Damascus likely guilty of genocide

A man passes a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad with Arabic that reads, 'Congratulations victory,' on September 30, 2019, while crossing the border into Syria at the newly opened crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal, Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
A man passes a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad with Arabic that reads, 'Congratulations victory,' on September 30, 2019, while crossing the border into Syria at the newly opened crossing between the Iraqi town of Qaim and Syria's Boukamal, Syria. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)

The United Nations announced on Thursday that Syria is set to be elected to a senior post on a UN “decolonization” committee charged with upholding human rights including the “subjugation, domination and exploitation” of people.

The Syrian regime headed by dictator Bashar Assad has waged a bloody civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people since it started in 2011. The regime is believed to have committed widespread war crimes, including by using chemical weapons and barrel bombs against civilians.

Also on Thursday, the UN released a report that said actions by the regime during the war likely constituted “crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes, including genocide.”

Syria will be elected to the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization, a 24-nation body that aims to “decolonize” the US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa, and other areas, according to the UN Watch NGO, which reported Syria’s election to the forum.

Syria’s new UN envoy, Bassam al-Sabbagh, is set to join the forum in June, the UN announced at its opening session.

“The Special Committee will take up, at a later date, the election of the Special Rapporteur of the Committee pending the arrival in New York of His Excellency Ambassador Bassam al-Sabbagh, nominated by the Syrian Arab Republic,” said Keisha McGuire, permanent representative of Grenada to the UN.

Al-Sabbagh was unable to attend the opening session of the forum, McGuire said.

A Syrian representative at the meeting said, “My country has always supported the proceedings of the special committee, as well as the efforts of the committee to reinforce the right to self-determination.”

The UN has brought up violence perpetrated by both sides of the civil war in Syria, but Russia, an ally to Damascus, has blocked many efforts to target the regime.

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