UN Human Rights Council Condemns Foreign Militant Involvement in Syria

 The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 when rebels and other opposition groups began protesting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Peaceful attempts to resolve the crisis have been unsuccessful, as violence continues to escalade (See e.g. http://pilr.blogs.law.pace.edu/2013/03/27/assad-asks-for-help-to-end-syrian-uprising). A recent panel of United Nations human rights experts issued a report regarding the conflict, which detailed the increased number of war crimes being committed by both sides of the conflict. Further, the heightened violence has led to increased concern over the affect this violence is having over the civilian population.

This past Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution regarding the use of foreign fighters in the Syrian Civil War as a result of the increased number of foreign militants on both sides of the conflict. While the resolution did not call for a cessation of arms flow into Syria, it did call for an end to foreign troop involvement in the conflict.  The Council’s decision came on the heels of an announcement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stating that the death toll in the Syrian conflict has totaled 93,000.  In addition, on the same day of the High Commissioner’s announcement, the United States stated they would begin providing arms to the Syrian Rebels after coming to the conclusion that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the Syrian citizens. With that being said, please Consider the Following Questions:


(1)  Do you feel that this resolution will help curb some of the violence that is ongoing in Syria?

(2)  Would the resolution have been more effective if the Human Rights Council also called for a stop of arms flow into Syria?

(3)  Do you believe there are any alternative measures that could be taken globally to help decrease the ongoing violence and protect the civilian population?



Source: Jurist.Org


One comment

  1. There is no doubt that the civil war in Syria is deeply concerning. And no one deserves a just and expeditious solution to the conflict more that the innocent civilians who are caught between Government and Rebel forces. However, I fear that Syria has not yet seen the worst of times.

    This resolution, although binding on the Assad Government, is unlikely to have any meaningful effect, if any all. Human Rights Council resolutions are notoriously weak and rarely carry any practical significance. Therefore, I am less than optimistic about the effect that the resolution will have on the war in Syria. Likewise, a resolution that outlawed arms trading would would be equally ineffective. Although, it is interesting to note that the international community just past an arms trade treaty this year. But, because that treaty is not yet in force, it can have no effect on this war.

    Beside the fact that this resolution is unlikely to deter the Assad regime, the fact that the majority of “foreign militants” are coming from Lebanon and its terrorist organization Hezbollah further militates against the efficacy of the resolution. Nether international law nor the pressures of the so-called “civilized” nations has deterred Hezbollah in the past, and, in my opinion, there is no reason why that will change now. If anything, Hezbollah and other contributors to the Syrian war are poised to make more bold moves than usual.

    Moreover, the fact that Hezbollah is backed by Iran, who is in turn very friendly with Russia, does not ring of a promising prospectus for the cessation of tensions in Syria. With Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia on President Bashar-Al-Assad’s shiite side of the sectarian conflict, it is unlikely that the U.S. and the west will back down. As evidence of this improbability, look to recent reports that the U.S. and Israel may be planing to target Hezbollah in Syria. It would be a major and emboldening victory for “fundamentalists/terrorists” if the former group were to come out on top.

    With that said, I believe that the only viable solution is for the U.S. to negotiate a diplomatic settlement of the issue with Russia. If Russia agrees to stop backing Syria the rest will follow. At the same time, I think that it is important to engage the Arab League more directly and more persistently.

    Overall, I think that the U.N. does not have much of a part to play in the resolution of this conflict. While their work, oversight, and contributions should not go unnoticed, it is more likely that this conflict will be determined through private diplomacy–probably bi-laterally between the U.S. and Russia. And, unfortunately, at this point I would say that U.S. military involvement is more likely than an Assad step-down from power.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *