20 December 2011
Remove Syria Now
from Unesco Human Rights Committees
When the campaign reaches 10,000 “Likes,” this will be submitted as a formal petition to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova.
Action items: Remove Syria Now from Unesco Human Rights Committees
Appeal for UNESCO to Cancel Its Election of Syria to Human Rights Committees
Shocked that the UNESCO Executive Board, on 11 November 2011, elected the Syrian Arab Republic to two committees dealing with human rights—the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which examines communications relating to the exercise of human rights, and the Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations, which is charged with overseeing the work of civil society and human rights groups within UNESCO;
Having considered the recent findings of United Nations Human Rights Council investigators that the Syrian regime has in the past year committed crimes against humanity, including the murder of 5,000 of its citizens, the torturing of children and rape;
Recalling that earlier this year, after United Nations Watch revealed that Syria had cynically submitted its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, a global protest campaign emerged with the support of Human Rights Watch, the Syrian Human Rights Committee, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and numerous other NGOs and UN stakeholders, helping to successfully defeat the candidacy of the Assad regime;
Guided by the principled opposition expressed by the UNESCO Director-General herself, Ms. Irina Bokova, who has stated that she “does not see how the Syria can contribute to the work of the committees”;
Declaring that each day that the Syria continues to sit on the aforementioned UNESCO human rights committees constitutes an affront to the memory of the innocents who continue to be killed by the Assad regime, and casts a shadow upon the reputation of UNESCO, and of the United Nations system as a whole;
We, the undersigned Members of Parliament, human rights organizations, civil society representatives and pro-democracy dissidents and activists, do hereby appeal to the UNESCO Executive Board to urgently remove the Syrian regime from the aforementioned human rights committees, and to publicly apologize to the victims of the Syrian regime for having elected it in the first place.