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Senate Resolution Aims to Undermine Syrian Regime, Urge Obama to Act

2:26 PM, May 12, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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A bipartisan group of senators joined together yesterday to discuss a proposed Senate resolution on Syria, which would condemn the rogue regime and urge the Obama administration to act decisively. The strongly worded resolution "expresses solidarity and support for the people of Syria as they seek to exercise universal rights and pursue peaceful democratic change." This wording, and other such lines in the resolution, would hopefully undermine the Syrian regime, which is led by Bashar al-Assad and killing protesters on the Syrian streets. 

Additionally, the resolution "strongly condemns and deplores the human rights abuses of the Syrian government, including the use of arbitrary and lethal violence and deployment of military forces against peaceful demonstrators," and "strongly condemns and deplores the Syrian government’s extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary and mass arrests against Syrian civilians."

In regard to action that the senators think the Obama administration should take, the resolution "urges the Obama Administration to act swiftly to expand the list of sanctioned persons to include all individuals responsible for gross human rights abuses in Syria, including Bashar al-Assad," and "urges President Obama to speak out directly, and personally, to the Syrian people about the alarming situation in their country."

The senators present at yesterday's press conference include Marco Rubio, Joe Lieberman, Ben Cardin, and John McCain.

Here's the full text of the Senate resolution on Syria:

Resolution Expressing Support for Peaceful Demonstrations and Universal Freedoms in Syria and Condemning the Human Rights Violations by the Assad Regime

Whereas in March 2011, large-scale peaceful demonstrations began to take place in Syria;

Whereas the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to protests by launching a violent crackdown, committing human rights abuses and violating its international obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

Whereas demonstrations have now spread to more than a dozen towns and cities across all parts of Syria;

Whereas demonstrators initially demanded political reform, but under violent attack by the Syrian government, have increasingly demanded a change in the Syrian regime;

Whereas Insan, a respected international non-governmental organization, has documented more than 600 deaths since demonstrations began in Syria, and reported that “arbitrary detained and enforceable disappearance in the country easily exceeds 8,000 people”;

Whereas the Syrian government has deployed tanks and snipers against civilian population centers, including the cities of Daraa and Baniyas, and the Damascus suburbs of Douma, Harasta, Saqba and Zabadani;

Whereas the Syrian government has cut off access by civilian population centers to food, water, electricity, mobile and land lines, Internet, and medical services;

Whereas several respected international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, have documented a nationwide campaign of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances of activists, protesters, and their family members, by the Syrian government;

Whereas the International Crisis Group, an independent international non-governmental organization, reported on May 3, 2011 that there is “ongoing, credible evidence” in Syria of “abundant instances of excessive and indiscriminate state violence… including arbitrary arrests, torture and firing into peaceful crowds”;

Whereas the International Crisis Group has also reported a “determined and cynical attempt to exploit and exacerbate” sectarian tensions by the Syrian government;

Whereas despite sectarian provocations by the Syrian government, demonstrations have maintained a message of national unity and solidarity;

Whereas on April 15, 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, stated that that live ammunition has been used by the Syrian regime against demonstrators “in clear violation of international law";

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