The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution over the weekend calling for Syria to give up its chemical weapons arsenal. A meeting in Geneva in mid-November will convene to decide whether the Syrian government has begun complying.
Russia, which is a member of the permanent Security Council, scored a victory in negotiating the resolution to not fall under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which automatically allows for force in the event of non-compliance. Consequences for non-compliance would have to be negotiated separately. Russia has also insisted that the Syrian rebel forces are subject to the resolution.
But US Secretary of State John Kerry for his part is insisting that the resolution only applies to the Syrian regime.
Meanwhile, the millions of Syrian refugees that have been forced into neighboring countries remain in desperate conditions. One woman in a Turkish refugee camp reportedly set herself on fire after being raped. Syrian refugees in Yemen have taken to begging in the streets for food to feed their children. So many refugees have flooded Lebanon that now a quarter of Lebanon’s residents consist of Syrians. In Jordan, 10 percent of residents are Syrian refugees.
The international organization Human Rights Watch has criticized Saturday’s UN resolution on Syria, saying it does not deliver justice to ordinary Syrians. HRW would like to see the International Criminal Court take up the issue of mass killings in Syria.
GUEST: Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, is a general expert on human rights issues in the region
Visit www.hrw.org for more information.