Arab States Join Push to Condemn Syria Rights Violations at UN

Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia among Arab nations joining Germany, Britain, and France to sponsor draft submitted to human rights committee.

A draft resolution backed by Arab and European countries and the United States was submitted Thursday to the United Nations General Assembly, seeking to condemn human rights violations in the on-going violence in Syria.

Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia were among Arab states that joined Germany, Britain, and France to sponsor the draft submitted to the assembly's human rights committee. In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. would sign on as a co-sponsor of the resolution.

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The draft demanded an end to violence, respect of human rights and implementation by Damascus of a plan of action of the Arab League.

The move comes as clashes escalated in Syria and after Russia and China used their veto in October to block a Security Council resolution that would have condemned the Syrian government of President Bashir for the violence.

Such a veto is not applicable in the 193-nation assembly, which will consider the issue after the human rights committee reports back to it.

The UN says more than 3,500 people have been killed since unrest erupted in spring against Assad.

The British UN Ambassador said the draft was "the result of close consultations with Arab League members as a response to critical events on the ground in Syria."

"It complements the ongoing efforts of the Arab League, for example by inviting the UN to offer support, if requested, for the League of Arab States' proposed observer mission in Syria," Grant said.

The human rights committee is scheduled to debate the draft and possibly take a vote next week.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said human rights groups were urging a quick adoption of the draft.

"The General Assembly is finally given a chance to demonstrate that the global UN membership will not simply stand by while ordinary Syrians are being killed, arbitrarily detained and tortured," said Human Rights Watch's Philippe Bolopion.