The United Nations has once again proven itself to be an ineffective and useless body—last week, Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution aimed at addressing and ending the brutal assault on the Syrian people by their own suppressive regime. More than 5,000 people have been killed by Syria’s government since anti-government protests began in March of last year, according to UN figures. Russia and China, two Security Council members, have made it clear that their political agendas come before humanitarian issues.
The resolution, proposed on February 4th, endorses a recent plan proposed by the Arab League urging president Bashar Al Assad to step down and transfer power. All 13 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution except Russia and China.
Russia and China are known to have previously denounced any form of foreign military intervention into countries for the sole purpose of regime change, but in this case the resolution’s essential purpose is simply to adhere to a condemnation of the regime’s excessive use of force. The draft of this resolution is not a plan to authorize physical military intervention in the region, but rather to denounce the overuse of violence on civilians. Yet Russia and China seem steadfast in preserving their diplomatic relationship with the unwavering regime.
Both countries blocked the resolution after claiming that it is too one-sided and that it fails to address the conflict in a neutral manner. In defense of Russia’s veto, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that, “Measures must be taken to influence not only the government, but also the armed groups, because unless you do it both ways you are taking sides in a civil war.”
The resolution’s intention, however, is not to take sides in this so called “civil war,” but to end the Syrian regime’s deliberate and bloody crackdown on its own civilians in the quickest manner. Foreign intervention, especially into Syria, is likely to cause blatant opposition and controversial consequences, but the top priority of any form of intervention is to end the bloodshed of innocent civilians.
The Security Council resolution was presented after an intense tank and artillery assault on the city of Homs that killed more than 200 Syrians in what Syrian activist groups are calling the single bloodiest day since the uprising began 11 months ago. BBC News estimates that the most current death toll has surpassed 2,000 in the city of Homs alone, which has been the regime’s target in recent weeks. The crackdown in Syria has left more than 5,000 Syrians dead total, including 400 children, according to UNICEF.
Their interference with the resolution has opened Russia and China to harsh criticism from the global community and appointed them partial accountability for the violence and the deaths that continue to escalate in the region by the day.
Unless Russia and China do in fact support a dictator incapable of implementing democratic reforms as promised, all political agendas, strategic interests, double standards, assumptions, hypocrisy, criticism and skepticism of Syria’s unequalled revolution must be set aside, and humanitarianism must be allowed to take its place.