posted on Tue 2 Aug 2011 9:27 AM
Consultations on Syria

Consultations on a possible resolution on the situation in Syria continue this morning at permanent representative level. At yesterday’s briefing by Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez Taranco, Council members were told that on top of 140 people reported killed in a military offensive on Sunday, 3,000 people have gone missing and 12,000 people have been taken prisoner since the anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March.

Yesterday the European members of the Council circulated a revised draft resolution on Syria which was discussed following the briefing by Taranco. The new draft text takes into account the military operations over the weekend against towns like Hama, Deir Ez-Zor and Al Boukemal. It also refers to the lack of access given by the Syrian government for humanitarian assistance and to the Secretary-General’s 1 August statement.

It seems that following yesterday’s consultations, Brazil has put together elements for a unified message by the Council based on some of the differences that emerged during the consultations. It appears that some Council members would like the condemnation of violence to include not just the use of force against civilians, but also sectarian violence and hostility against security forces. There also seems to be some differences over how to refer to the reforms announced by the Syrian government. Other areas of disagreement appear to be over references to the attacks as crimes against humanity, and the need to cooperate with the Human Rights Council resolution (A/HRC/RES/S-16/1) of 29 April which requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights “to dispatch urgently a mission to the Syrian Arab Republic to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law and to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability.”

It appears that a number of members, like Russia, who have been resisting any Council decision on Syria have indicated that they might now support a presidential statement. However, it appears that this continues to be problematic for Lebanon. The European members appear to still prefer a resolution.