The Human Rights Council's Special Session on Syria

Press Statement
Washington, DC
December 2, 2011

Today, the Human Rights Council in Geneva took decisive action to reinforce the Syrian Government’s isolation and draw attention to the Asad regime’s unacceptable and brutal treatment of the Syrian people, including its many peaceful protestors. The United States worked with over 50 countries on this special session, which was co-sponsored by 29 members of the Human Rights Council -- by far the largest number of co-sponsors for any special session since the Council was created.

The special session endorsed a report released earlier this week by the independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which catalogued the Syrian Government’s brutal abuse of its citizens that are seeking to exercise their basic rights and transition their country to a democracy. According to the report, the Asad regime is killing Syrian citizens, arbitrarily detaining and torturing protestors, and in several cases sexually assaulting children while under police custody.

It is clear that the Syrian Government is willing to do anything to strangle the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. The United States strongly supports the Commission’s efforts to expose the abuses by the Asad regime and help bring the human rights violators to account.

Today’s action, along with the UN General Assembly’s condemnation of the human rights violations in Syria and the League of Arab States' historic steps, shows that the Asad regime is now more isolated and under greater international pressure than ever before. Our message is clear: to the people of Syria, the world stands by you, and we will not ignore your plight in the face of ongoing violence; to the Syrian Government, the time has come to end the flagrant human rights violations and step out of the way of the democratic transition that the Syrian people are yearning for.

PRN: 2011/2049