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S.Res. 370 (112th): A resolution calling for democratic change in Syria.

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 9, 2012 (Introduced).


III

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. RES. 370

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 9, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Rubio, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Durbin, and Mr. Kyl) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

RESOLUTION

Calling for democratic change in Syria.

Whereas the Syrian Arab Republic is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted at New York December 16, 1966, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, done at New York December 10, 1984, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted at Paris, December 10, 1948.

Whereas, in March 2011, peaceful demonstrations in Syria began against the authoritarian rule of Bashar al-Assad;

Whereas, in response to the demonstrations, the Government of Syria launched a brutal crackdown, which has resulted in gross human rights violations, use of force against civilians, torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, sexual violence, and interference with access to medical treatment;

Whereas the United Nations estimated that, as of January 25, 2012, more than 5,400 people in Syria had been killed since the violence began in March 2011;

Whereas, on August 18, 2011, President Barack Obama called upon President Bashar al-Assad to step down from power;

Whereas the Department of State has repeatedly condemned the Government of Syria’s crackdown on its people, including on January 30, 2012, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated The status quo is unsustainable. … The longer the Assad regime continues its attacks on the Syrian people and stands in the way of a peaceful transition, the greater the concern that instability will escalate and spill over throughout the region.;

Whereas President Obama, on April 29, 2011, designated 3 individuals subject to sanctions for humans rights abuses in Syria: Mahir al-Assad, the brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and brigade commander in the Syrian Army’s 4th Armored Division; Atif Najib, the former head of the Political Security Directorate for Daraa Province and a cousin of Bashar al-Assad; and Ali Mamluk, director of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate;

Whereas, on May 18, 2011, President Obama issued an executive order sanctioning senior officials of the Syrian Arab Republic and their supporters, specifically designating seven people: President Bashar al-Assad, Vice President Farouk al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Minister of the Interior Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Minister of Defense Ali Habib Mahmoud, Head of Syrian Military Intelligence Abdul Fatah Qudsiya, and Director of Political Security Directorate Mohammed Dib Zaitoun;

Whereas President Obama, on August 17, 2011, issued Executive Order 13582, blocking property of the Government of Syria and prohibiting certain transactions with respect to Syria;

Whereas, on December 1, 2011, the Department of the Treasury designated two individuals, Aus Aslan and Muhammad Makhluf, under Executive Order 13573 and two entities, the Military Housing Establishment and the Real Estate Bank of Syria, under Executive Order 13582;

Whereas, on May 6, 2011, the European Union’s 27 countries imposed sanctions on the Government of Syria for the human rights abuses, including asset freezes and visa bans on members of the Government of Syria and an arms embargo on the country;

Whereas, on November 12, 2011, the League of Arab States voted to suspend Syria’s membership in the organization;

Whereas, on December 2, 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution S-18/1, which recalls General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/176 of December 19, 2011, as well as Human Rights Council resolutions S-16/1, S-17/1 and S-18/1, and further deplores the human rights situation in Syria, commends the League of Arab States, and supports implementation of its Plan of Action;

Whereas the League of Arab States approved and implemented a plan of action to send a team of international monitors to Syria, which began December 26, 2011;

Whereas, on January 28, 2012, the League of Arab States decided to suspend its international monitoring mission due to escalating violence within Syria;

Whereas, on February 4, 2012, the Russian Federation and People's Republic of China vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution in support of the League of Arab States' Plan of Action;

Whereas the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran remain major suppliers of military equipment to the Government of Syria notwithstanding that government's violent repression of demonstrators; and

Whereas the gross human rights violations perpetuated by the Government of Syria against the people of Syria represent a grave risk to regional peace and stability: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—

(1)

strongly condemns the ongoing, widespread, and systemic violations of human rights conducted by authorities in Syria, including the use of force against civilians, torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, sexual violence, and interference with access to medical treatment;

(2)

maintains that Bashar al-Assad has lost all claims to legitimacy due to the perpetuation of mass atrocities against the people of Syria and continued violations of human rights;

(3)

calls upon Bashar al-Assad to step down from power;

(4)

strongly condemns the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran for providing military and security equipment to the Government of Syria, which has been used to repress peaceful demonstrations and commit mass atrocities against unarmed civilian populations in Syria;

(5)

commends the League of Arab States' efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution in Syria;

(6)

regrets that the League of Arab States observer mission was not able to monitor the full implementation of the League of Arab States' Action Plan of November 2, 2011, due to the escalating violence in Syria;

(7)

commends President Obama for authorizing targeted sanctions on human rights abusers in Syria and for extending these sanctions to 12 individuals;

(8)

encourages the President to continue designating for sanctions all individuals responsible for human rights violations in Syria;

(9)

urges the President to support an effective transition to democracy in Syria by identifying and providing substantial material and technical support, upon request, to Syrian organizations that are representative of the people of Syria, make demonstrable commitments to protect human rights and religious freedom, reject terrorism, cooperate with international counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts, and abstain from destabilizing neighboring countries;

(10)

urges the President to develop a plan to identify weapons stockpiles and prevent the proliferation of conventional, biological, chemical, and other types of weapons in Syria;

(11)

urges the Department of State to establish a Friends of the Syrian People Contact Group of countries committed to democratic change in Syria, including Turkey, members of the League of Arab States, and members of the European Union;

(12)

urges the Department of State to develop a strategy to encourage defections from the military of the Government of Syria;

(13)

urges the President to diplomatically engage with the Republic of Turkey and members of the League of Arab States and the European Union to discuss options to protect the people of Syria, including the provision of robust humanitarian assistance, the viability of establishing a safe haven along the borders of Syria, and the use of all means available to monitor and publicly report on abuses inside the country; and

(14)

urges the international community to mobilize in support of a post-Assad democratic and inclusive Government of Syria that holds accountable those responsible for crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights.