A UN committee on Tuesday slammed rights abuses by the Syrian government after a debate marked by a bitter clash between the UN envoys of Saudi Arabia and Syria.
The UN General Assembly rights committee voted overwhelmingly for a Saudi-drafted resolution which expressed “outrage” at the escalation of the 32-month-old Syrian civil war.
The resolution — passed with 123 nations in favor, 13 against and 46 abstaining — laid most of the blame for the huge death toll on the Syrian government.
The resolution strongly condemned “the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and the government-affiliated shabbiha militias.”
In giving a strong condemnation of an August 21 chemical weapons attack in which hundreds died, the resolution came close to blaming President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
A UN inquiry has confirmed that chemical weapons were used but has not blamed any side. The Assad government has accused opposition rebels of staging the attack.
The resolution said a UN inquiry “provides clear evidence that surface-to-surface rockets were fired on August 21 from government-held territory into opposition areas, using professionally made munitions containing sarin.”
Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy Abdullah al-Mouallimi and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Jaafari came to diplomatic blows over the resolution.
Mouallimi said the resolution aimed to highlight “the suffering imposed on people in Syria such as mass killing, genocide, starvation, torture, oppression, kidnapping, terrorism and abduction.”
Addressing Jaafari, he added: “I would like to invite him, with affection and respect, to be embarrassed by covering up the crimes perpetrated by his authorities.”
Saudi Arabia is a major backer of the Syrian opposition and an infuriated Jaafari hit back, calling the resolution “shameful.”
“The Saudi regime is the last one that can talk about human rights given its black record in the domain,” Jaafari said.
The resolution is the third to be voted by the rights committee and the support was down from 2012 when 135 countries voted for, 12 were against and 36 abstained.
The resolution will get a new airing before the full General Assembly later this year.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
‘Go look at President Trump’s Twitter’: Portland right-wing rally organizer claims ‘mission success’
The organizer of a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon claimed the event was a "success" after President Donald Trump attacked Portlandiers protesting the group.
"A confluence of protesters on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum merged on Portland’s waterfront Saturday in a tense but relatively uneventful face-off that brought national attention, including a tweet in the hours before the protest by President Trump decrying the city’s signature anti-fascist movement," the Oregonian reported Saturday.
When a similar right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed Heather Heyer, Trump argued there were "fine people" on both sides of the "Unite the Right" rally.
Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?
The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.
"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.
The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."
White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting
Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.
King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.
A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.
Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.
Here's some of what people were saying: