Syrian protesters outside the Syrian Embassy in Amman, Jordan, on April 17, 2011. © Reuters Limited


Say No to Syria

UN Members should not elect Syria to the Human Rights Council

On May 20, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly will hold elections for 15 of the 47 seats on the Human Rights Council. Since March 18, Syrian security forces using live ammunition have killed over 500 largely peaceful protestors, according to Syrian human rights groups, and injured and detained thousands more, many of them beaten or tortured. On April 29, the Human Rights Council "unequivocally condemned the use of lethal violence against peaceful protestors by the Syrian authorities and the hindrance of access to medical treatment" and called for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate.

Human rights activists from around the world urge UN member states to reject the candidacy of Syria because of its clear failure to meet the membership standard set by the General Assembly that members of the Council "shall uphold the highest standards" of human rights. The brutal crackdown in Syria since mid-March has demonstrated that Syria is not qualified to serve on the UN's primary body for protecting and promoting human rights.

The Human Rights Council and UN Officials Condemn Violations by Syria

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "I condemn, utterly, the continuing violence against peaceful demonstrators, most particularly the use of tanks and live fire that have killed and injured hundreds of people."

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay: "The International community has repeatedly urged the Syrian Government to stop killing its own people, but our calls have gone unheeded."

Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions: "Live ammunition is being used … in clear violation of international law."

UN human rights experts denounced the rising death toll and brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders in Syria.

UN Treaty Bodies address Syria