JOINT STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIAN JEWRY (ECAJ) AND THE ZIONIST FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA (ZFA) ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA AND THE RECENT UNESCO DECISION
13 March 2012
The ECAJ and ZFA deplore the decision made by the Executive Board of UNESCO on 8 March 2012 which, while it condemned “the continued widespread and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities”, failed to heed the calls of the US and other Executive Board members for Syria to be expelled outright from the UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations which deals with human rights.
This UNESCO decision comes hard on the heels of reliable reports that, following their indiscriminate shelling of Baba Amr and other civilian districts in Homs, the al-Assad regime’s military forces summarily executed many of the survivors, butchering entire families, and engaged in the systematic mass rape of women.
Further reports are emerging out of Syria that the Idlib region, another centre of anti-regime resistance, is now being subjected to similar atrocities by forces loyal to the al-Assad regime. The UN has estimated the total number of Syrians killed during the last 12 months at more than 7,500. Many others have been wounded and made homeless.
In the past fortnight, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and other leading state officials have openly canvassed the possibility of Bashar al-Assad and other senior figures in the Syrian regime being referred to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council for possible indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yet international action against the al-Assad regime has been stymied by a deadlock in the UN Security Council.
It is reprehensible enough that the UN Security Council has abrogated its own doctrine and abandoned its responsibility to protect the people of Syria from egregious crimes that continue to be committed against them on a daily basis by their own government. It is nothing short of disgraceful that a UN body, UNESCO, has made a decision which implies that representatives of the al-Assad regime have a constructive contribution to make to the work of its human rights committee. History will record this as a new low, even for the UN.
Zionist Federation of Australia
Philip Chester | President
Executive Council of
Dr Danny Lamm | President
e: President@ecaj.org.au | www.ecaj.org.au