U.N. condemns Syria in protester deaths

April 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, April 30 (UPI) -- The U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly approved a statement sponsored by the United States criticizing Syria's attacks on protesters.

The Christian Science Monitor reported Saturday the statement's narrow support indicates many member nations want to avoid another Libya.

Military-on-civilian violence has killed as many as 500 people in Syria in the past few days. The statement also calls on the top U.N. human-rights official to launch an investigation into the violence for potential violations of international law.

Among the nine countries voting against the statement were China and Russia. The statement passed with 26 yes votes in the 47-member body.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said following the Friday vote in Geneva the council was acting "against attempts to silence dissent with the use of gratuitous violence, which is not the act of a responsible government."

Rice said the statement is "an important precedent," adding that it marks "a strong step forward for this world body at a critical time."

U.S. President Barack Obama Friday signed an executive order imposing sanctions on three Syrian officials and two organizations in connection with Syria's actions.

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