Syrian President Bashar Assad
In what has already been called a brazen move, Syria is reportedly seeking a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Elections to the UNHRC, which is comprised of 47 UN member nations, are scheduled to take place in 2013, during the annual UN General Assembly summit.
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The move is especially strident given past statements by the UNHRC, that the Syrian regime is guilty of abhorrent acts of violence, perpetrated by President Bashar Assad's forces in an attempt to crush the uprising against him.
The UNHRC said that Damascus' forces may face ICC action over crimes against humanity. The UN believes that over 14,000 have been killed and numerous others detained and tortured since the uprising began in March 2011.
According to the Weekly Standard, the UN Watch – a Geneva-based NGO whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations – stated that "The murderous regime of Bashar Assad is a declared candidate for a seat on the 47-nation UN body, in elections to be held next year at the 193-member General Assembly."
'Syria's victory virtually assured'
Damascus will be vying for the seat as part of the UN's 53-nation Asian group and as such, it is "virtually assured of victory," the group warned; explaining that "regional groups orchestrate uncontested elections, naming only as many candidates as allotted seats."
UN Watch gave the example of China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia – all UNHRC members, which won their seats courtesy of the bloc system.
"Fears that Syria will indeed win appear to have mobilized the United States and the European Union into taking the unprecedented action of asking the council to declare in advance that a candidate country, in this case Syria, be declared inherently disqualified to join its ranks," the watchdog group said.
The US and EU reportedly plan to present the Geneva-based UNHRC with a draft resolution to that effect on Friday. But the move has garnered heavy opposition from China, Cuba and Egypt; while Russia and India said no ruling should be made prior to Damascus officially submitting its candidacy.
According to reports, Russia, Syria's longtime ally, also insisted that no action be taken prior to Syria formally submitting its request to joint the council.
Syria had initially announced that it would seek a UNHRC seat in early 2011, mere weeks prior to the onset of the revolt, but then agreed to "postpone the bid until the issue was resolved."
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