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  • MUN Korea

    SecUrity coUNcil 1

    SecUrity coUNcilYale Model United Nations Korea

    May 17 - 19, 2013

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    Table of Contents

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    Establishing Peace in Syria 3 History 4 Previous Measures Taken by the U.N. and International Organizations 7 Timeline 8 Recent Announcements from the International Community 10 Questions to Consider 11 Suggestions for Further Reading 12Glossary 13

  • Bashar al-Assad has ruled Syria since 2000, after his father, Hafez al-Assad, had ruled for 30 years. Under the light of the events of the Arab Spring, As-sad has been a target of complaints by his people concerning major human rights violations. A widely despised emergency law had been in place since the ruling Baath Party came to power in 1963, permitting the regime a free hand to arrest people without charge and forcing the state upon the people without any restrictions. Syrians have accused Assad of economic lapses and corruption; human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also accused him of torture, murder and imprisonment of his political opponents. The Syrians, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, com-menced peaceful protests demanding economic prosperity, political freedom and civil liberties; yet, similarly to the other Arab nations, Al-Assad has been accused of a violent crackdown on the protestors. The climax of the early conflict occurred in April 25, 2011 four days after Al-Assad promised reforms and lifted the state of state-of-emergency

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    Establishing Peace in Syria

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    law when the Baath government sent troops into Daraa to carry out brutalities and extreme violence. The battle of Damascus in 2012 signified a major victory for the Free Syrian Army, but the Battle of Aleppo, begin-ning in 2012, is still ongoing in 2013 with casualties on both sides. Leaders around the world have been irate at the situation, and several of them have called for al-Assad to step down and have imposed economic sanctions on Syria. The dissidents have organized an opposition Syrian National Coun-cil to set up the new government for when, or if, Assad steps down. As of January of 2013, the United Nations has reported a death toll that exceeds 60,000 people. The situation in Syria has reached a critical point of nearly two years of an ongoing uprising, and it is now time for the international com-munity to make decisions, evaluate the position of the governments sov-ereignty, yet also taking into account the rights and liberties of the popula-tion. I want the Syrian regime to take note of what happened in Libya, said Syrian National Council member

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    Louay Safi, Those dictators who think that they are above people and above history, (think) they can main-tain repression without being called to account. That time is over now. All nations have the right to live under the rule of law and to experience democ-racy and free speech and freedom.

    government have occurred before the Arab Spring uprisings. To understand the complexity of the Syrian issue, one must observe the several different causes for the un-rest. Debate has surged as to whether this is an economic conflict a clash of classes or whether the sectarian nature of Syria should be to blame. Economically, Syria had been under tension since before the pro-tests began in March. Human rights abuses there have been committed repeatedly under the Baaath rule, and according to a 2010 Human Rights Watch report, Bashar al-Assad had not improved the human rights situa-tions in the course of his 10 year-rule. A 2007 study by the Dubai School of Governments Wolfensohn Center for Development, Youth Exclusion in Syria: Social, Economic, and Institutional Dimensions, found that although Syrias overall unem-ployment rate was at about 25%, which is relatively common for the area, the youth jobless rate has been more than six times higher than the rate among older adults (only 4%); this constitutes, according the study, the highest ratio (youth-adult imbal-ance) among the regions countries outside the Gulf States. Syria is a country of 21 million people a large

    Topic HistoryAlthough its roots dig deeper in time than any of the recent occurrences, the spark for the Arab Spring was ignited by Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tuni-sian street vendor who set himself on fire in protest of the Tunisian regime. Spiraling from that, a wave of protests hit the Arab world, demanding more just governments and, in most cases, ushering pleas for democracy. Syria, considered one of the most repressive countries in the Arab world, soon had its citizens join the protests in 2011, inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Bashar al-Assad has been Syrias president since the year 2000, replacing his father, Hafez al-Assad, and giving continuity to the Baathist rule in Syria. Although he was initially hailed as a promise of reform to Syria, he soon revealed himself as a leader much like his father had been. Many previous clashes with Syrias

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    Sunni majority (74%) and significant minorities (10% each) of Christians and Alawites - the Shia sect to which Mr. Assad belongs. Assad has con-centrated power in the hands of his family and members of the Alawite community, who retain a dispropor-tionate amount of power in the Syrian government, military and business elite. Claims of corruption and nepo-tism have been widespread among the excluded Sunni majority. This mirrors clearly when observing the areas of tension in the uprising generally, protests have had greater repercussion in Sunni-dominated rural areas and towns and cities. For months, the protestors have been calling for freedom and democ-racy. Mr. Assad has made some con-cessions and promised further reform, but has not once mentioned the word democracy in his public statements. Activists say that as long as people continue to be killed in the streets, his promises count for very little. The protestors have now made it clear that they want the fall of Assads regime, yet the president has made it clear that he has no intention to step down. Meanwhile, some other pleas have been made to end the 48-year-old emergency law, to cease the extrajudi-cial killings and torture, to have the

    right for a free media, to transition to a democratic, free and pluralistic so-ciety, and to release political prisoners and detainees from the protests. So far, Assad has revoked the emergency law although the crack-downs are still ongoing, given amnesty to some political prisoners, and has proposed for national dialogue to re-view new election law, allowing other political parties than the Baath Party, and pushing for constitutional reform. However, he has not ended the kill-ings, and continuously sends troops into village citing need for security and holding hundreds in jail. The crackdowns have attracted world-wide attention, and the international plat-form has divided itself regarding the human rights violations in Syria. Some countries, notoriously Russia and China, claim that Syria has the right to its sovereignty and that other countries should not be med-dling with the politics of an internal regime. Other countries, such as the United States, have been outspoken against the actions of Bashar al-Assad, pressuring the Security Council to issue sanctions on Syria. The Arab League became a ma-jor player when it decided to banish Syria from the Arab League while the crimes continue to be committed

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    As the unrest spread to the north of the country, troops attacked the town of Jisr al-Shughour, where the govern-ment said 120 security personnel were killed. Fearing a military onslaught, more than 10,000 people fled to Tur-key, where they remain in refugee camps. Now, continuously, the Syrian army cracks down on protestors, and Syria has been a battleground ever since. The United Nations currently estimates the death toll at 5000 a number that the Syrian government claims is too high, and that human rights group claim is too low. Avaaz, a human rights organization, estimates the number of deaths as well over 6000. A ccusations of human rights vio-lations have been widespread, and the constant clash between government and civilians has created sweeping fear amongst Syrians. U.N. High Commis-sioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the U.N. Security Council that Assads crackdowns against domestic protesters constituted crimes against humanity, and that Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court. Pillay also revised the U.N. estimate for the death toll during the nine-month-old uprising, saying that more than 5,000 people had been

    inside of the country. Assad now faces heightened economic and political pressures, as Europe imposes a new round of financial sanctions and King Abdullah II of Jordan calls on the Mr. Assad to step down. However, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem says their country would take tough mea-sures against any country that recog-nizes the opposition Syrian National Council. The full-fledged protests began on March 25th, 2011, as rallies calling for freedom in the southern border town of Deraa. The crackdowns ini-tiated when Syrian security forces opened fire on unarmed crowds, kill-ing several people in the protests. The unrest in Deraa quickly spread to oth-er towns and cities. President Bashar al-Assad sent in tanks and troops to restore order, blaming armed gangs and terrorists for the unrest. Towns like Deraa, Homs and Douma were attacked for days. Hundreds were killed when snipers and tanks fired on unarmed protesters.

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    killed, including 300 children.