The UN Human Rights Council on Friday adopted a new resolution proposed by the European Union (EU) condemning human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities and members of the Syrian military and security forces since unrest broke out in the country in March 2011.
Tens of thousands of Syrians demonstrate at Sabe Bahrat square in downtown Damascus, Syria, on Dec.2, 2011, to denounce recent economic sanctions imposed by the Arab League and Turkey on Syria and to show support for their president.
The resolution strongly condemned "the continued widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities," urging the country to immediately put an end to all violations and to conduct investigations as to ensure accountability.
The resolution also invited relevant UN agencies and regional organizations to bring an immediate end to human rights violations in Syria, and to assist the country in strengthening the independence of its judiciary and in reforming its security sector.
The resolution was met with strong opposition from Russia and China, both concerned that it might lead to another case of foreign intervention over a sovereign state under the pretext of human rights.
The two countries cast negative votes in Friday's special session.
A Russian representative said the resolution was "one-sided" and "politicized," and that it ignored crimes committed by the rebels and could only lead to aggravation of the situation instead of offering relief.
The Russian representative referred to the Syrian situation as an "armed conflict between the government and rebels," which was being fulled by outside forces with money and weapons from abroad.
A Chinese envoy also said "it is our consistent view that constructive dialogue and cooperation are the right approaches to promote and protect human rights, whereas finger pointing and pressurizing give no solution to any issue."
The Chinese representative stressed that to promote and protect human rights should not in any case be taken by any country as pretext of intrusion over another's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"Human Rights Council should stick to the principle of impartiality, objectivity, resolving differences and problems through promoting dialogue and cooperation, so as to foster an early settlement over the crisis in a constructive manner," he said.
"Regretfully, the draft resolution provided by certain country failed to follow the above-mentioned principles. On the contrary, it included contents that aim to bring human rights issue into the Security Council which violates this Council's mandate," the Chinese envoy added.