UN General Assembly demands Syria end bloodshed in 15 days

UN General Assembly demands Syria end bloodshed in 15 days

The UN General Assembly voted 137-12 on Thursday to condemn Syria for its violence against its citizens and to call for the implementation of the Arab League's plan to end the bloodshed within 15 days, DPA reported.

The resolution, adopted with a 137-12 vote, asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to report within 15 days whether Syria has implemented demands in the resolution.

There were 17 abstentions. At least three countries complained after the vote that the electronic voting machine was locked down before they were able to press the button to vote.

Russia and China were among countries voting against. The two countries vetoed a similar resolution when it was put to a vote in the UN Security Council on February 4.

Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari called the resolution "biased" against his country, which he said is drawing up comprehensive plans to reform its institutions and hold a referendum on February 26 on a new constitution.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since unrest against the government erupted 11 months ago. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the death toll at 7,200.

Jaafari denounced Arab and Western countries that supported the resolution, saying that they "hasten to impose sanctions that impact of the daily lives of Syrians. This shows that they don't want to help the political process in Syria."

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after the vote that amendments submitted by Moscow were rejected, including a demand to allow peaceful demonstrators to disassociate themselves from armed groups.

"Russia will unceasingly continue efforts to assist Syria and its people," Churkin said.

The resolution "strongly condemns the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities."

It said those violations include arbitrary executions; the killing and persecution of protestors, human rights defenders, and journalists; enforced disappearances; interference with access to medical treatment; and torture, sexual violence and ill-treatment, including against children.

It also condemned "all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, and calls upon all parties in Syria, including armed groups, to immediately stop all violence or reprisals in accordance with the League of Arab States' initiative."

It called for an "inclusive Syrian-led process" that would address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people and for Damascus to facilitate a "Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs."

Damascus is to release all people detained arbitrarily because of the unrest, withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations.

Thursday's vote was the second held by the assembly against Syria. In December, the assembly voted 131 to 11, with 43 abstentions to condemn human rights violations in Syria.

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