The United Nations announced on Thursday that they had appointed Syria to a senior post on the Special Committee on Decolonization during the committee’s opening session. The committee, established in 1961, is exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization and has 24 member states including Iran.
“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.
Syria’s new UN envoy, Bassam al-Sabbagh, is set to join the forum in June.
Ironically, on the same day, the UN released a report claiming that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assadactions was guilty of actions that likely constituted “crimes against humanity, war crimes and other international crimes, including genocide.”
The hypocrisy of the UN was pointed out by Hillel Neuer of UN Watch:
No joke: U.N. to elect 🇸🇾 Syria’s genocidal Assad regime to top post fighting “subjugation of peoples.“
The announcement by the Special Committee on Decolonization came on same day that a U.N. inquiry accused Syria of committing “crimes against humanity.“https://t.co/BetgdVJdPG
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) February 19, 2021
Neuer called on the UN to fix this injustice:
“UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva, is calling on UN chief Antonio Guterres, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the EU’s UN ambassadors to condemn the world body’s “absurd and morally obscene” plan to elect Syria to a UN committee that is supposed to protect people from abuse, which will hand a propaganda victory to the Assad regime.”
The committee is mandated to uphold fundamental human rights in opposing the “subjugation, domination and exploitation” of peoples. The committee focuses on 17 territories though most do not actually desire the independence the UN is demanding on their behalf. 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 U.S. Virgin Islands, and Western Sahara.
It is, for this reason, the committee with its habit of holding meetings in exotic island locations is frequently criticized as being a often criticized as a costly irrelevance.
It is estimated that there have been almost 207,000 civilian casualties since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, and about 25,000 of them were children. The Assad regime has used chemical weapons (chlorine gas) against civilians and conducted torture and extrajudicial killings. Assad has also used “Indiscriminate and disproportionate aerial bombardment and shelling” which “led to mass civilian casualties and spread terror.”
This is not the first time the UN has set Syria in charge of human rights. In 2013, Syria was given a seat on the UNESCO human rights body.