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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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Whereas the U.S. Department of State has designated Syria since 1979 as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” and according to the U.S. State Department’s most recent “Country Reports on Terrorism,” published in August 2010, the Syrian government provides “political and material support to Hizballah in Lebanon and allowed Iran to resupply this organization with weapons”;

Whereas the Syrian government’s transfer of weapons to Hizballah in Lebanon is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), which established an arms embargo requiring all states to prevent the supply of arms and weapons to militias and terrorists in Lebanon;

Whereas the Government of Syria has violated the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Lebanon in contravention of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 425 (1978), Resolution 520 (1982), and Resolution 1701 (2006);

Whereas Syria, as a party to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, is legally bound to declare all its nuclear activity to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to place such activity under the monitoring of the IAEA;

Whereas the IAEA issued a report on February 25, 2011 criticizing Syria’s implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement, concluding that “Syria has not cooperated with the Agency since June 2008” in connection with the Agency’s investigation of the Dair Alzour site and three other locations” and warning that “the Agency has not been able to make progress towards resolving the outstanding issues related to those sites”;

Whereas it has been widely reported that the Syrian government was developing a covert nuclear program, in violation of its international obligations under the NPT, until that site was bombed by Israel in September 2007;

Whereas on December 12, 2003, the Congress passed the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-175) in order to, among other purposes, hold Syria accountable for its actions and as expression of support consistent with these aims:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the United States Senate:

(1) expresses solidarity and support for the people of Syria as they seek to exercise universal rights and pursue peaceful democratic change; 

(2) 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;

 

(3) strongly condemns and deplores the Syrian government’s extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary and mass arrests against Syrian civilians;

(4) strongly condemns and deplores the deliberate cut-off of water, electricity, food, telecommunications, and other basic services to civilian population centers in Syria;

(5) strongly condemns the Iranian government for assisting the Syrian government in its campaign of violence and repression against the Syrian people.

(6) warns that international crimes are being committed by the Syrian government against its people, for which the responsible officials must be held accountable;

(7) finds that the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad, through its campaign of violence and gross human rights abuses, has lost the legitimacy to lead Syria and expresses support for the Syrian people to determine their future for themselves;

(8) commends President Obama for authorizing targeted sanctions on human rights abuses in Syria—including U.S. visa bans and asset freezes—and using that authority to designate three individuals;

(9) 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;

(10) urges President Obama to speak out directly, and personally, to the Syrian people about the alarming situation in their country;

(11) urges the Obama Administration to work, in conjunction with international partners, to ensure access of humanitarian relief organizations, medical workers, and international media to affected areas of Syria, and to impose severe consequences on the Syrian government and its leaders if access by these organizations continues to be impeded;

(12) urges the Obama Administration to work with the European Union, the government of Turkey, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and other allies and partners to bring an end to human rights abuses in Syria, hold the perpetrators accountable, and support the aspirations of the Syrian people;

(13) urges the referral of the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC);

(14) urges the Obama Administration to work with our allies and partners at the United Nations Security Council to take such action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Syria and hold human rights abusers in Syria accountable;

(15) urges the United Nations Human Rights Council –

A. to swiftly implement United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution S-16/1 and to ensure that the international investigation into Syrian violations of international human rights law called for in the resolution is undertaken immediately;

B. reinforce the crucial need for the United Nations General Assembly to reject Syria’s candidacy for membership on the Human Rights Council and terminate the consideration of Syria’s candidacy;

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