With support of UN head, Syria elected to forum on protecting people from abuse
search

With support of UN head, Syria elected to forum on protecting people from abuse

Watchdog slams 'propaganda victory' handed to Assad's regime which, with UN chief's backing, gains seat on committee tasked with furthering 'international peace and security'

UN chief Antonio Guterres delivers a speech at the annual opening session of the decolonization committee, to which Syria was elected on February 22, 2018. (Screen capture: UN Web TV)
UN chief Antonio Guterres delivers a speech at the annual opening session of the decolonization committee, to which Syria was elected on February 22, 2018. (Screen capture: UN Web TV)

UN chief Antonio Guterres was criticized Thursday by a watchdog group for failing to condemn Syria’s election to a committee charged with working towards decolonization.

UN Watch called on US Ambassador Nikki Haley, and European ambassadors to condemn the world body for handing Bashar Assad’s regime what it called “a propaganda victory.”

Syria’s Bashar Ja’afari was elected earlier Thursday to the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization, which is guided by the principle of “respect for self-determination of all peoples.”

“It is incomprehensible for the UN on one day to lament the Syrian regime’s killing and wounding of hundreds of thousands of Syrians — to declare the regime guilty of a ‘monstrous campaign of annihilation’ of its own people — and to then hand this gift of false legitimacy to the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.

“Today’s UN vote only helps the Assad regime portray itself as a UN human rights arbiter. That’s an insult to Syria’s victims,” said Neuer. “Morally, Mr. Guterres should do the right thing and at the very least condemn the decision.”

The UN’s charter says that the committee’s task is to ensure “just treatment,” of peoples “and their protection against abuses,” and “to further international peace and security,” and “must be based on the general principle of good-neighborliness.”

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to the United Nations speaks to journalists after the talks on Syria in Vienna on January 26, 2018. (AFP/Alex Halada)

The Decolonization Committee has been criticized in the past for squandering money on its regional seminars, held alternately in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

When the UN was founded, almost one-third of the world’s population lived in territories that were non-self-governing and dependent on colonial powers. However, today the committee is only responsible for 17 territories, most of which do not want independence.

The territories are: American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falklands, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos, St. Helena, the US Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.

read more:
comments