Philippines abstains anew on UN vote on Syria

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 07 2012 04:17 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2012 03:25 AM

GENEVA- The UN Human Rights Council on Friday tightened pressure on Syria with a new resolution condemning the violence there and demanding all sides abide by envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

Forty-one of the 47 members of the council voted in favour of the resolution lodged by the United States and Turkey.

There were "no" votes from Russia, China and Cuba while Uganda, India and the Philippines abstained.

"The council must continue to speak out on the gross human rights violations and atrocities" by the Assad regime, said US ambassador to the council Eileen Donahoe.

"We demand an end to the outrageous crimes against the people of Syria.

"The international community must keep ratcheting up the pressure on the regime."

In the document the council condemned the "widespread, systematic and gross violations" of human rights in Syria as well as crimes committed by pro-government Shabiha militia and the "indiscriminate targeting" of civilians by the Syrian authorities.

It also noted the "alarming" humanitarian and human rights consequences of the failure to implement peace envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan, calling for all sides to abide by the plan and demanding that the Syrian authorities allow human rights monitors to access detention facilities.

The body voted on but rejected a proposed amendment by Russia which asked that the council condemn "all acts of terrorism in Syria."

The council set up an investigative panel to probe rights violations in Syria last year.

The group has held several special sessions on the crisis and passed a number of resolutions, most recently one calling for an investigation by its Commission of Inquiry on Syria into May's Houla massacre in which at least 108 people were killed.

In an update to the 20th session of the council last week the panel said it found many of the deaths were at the hands of pro-government forces.

Monitors estimate that more than 16,500 people have died since the crackdown on the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year.