This photo released on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian government soldiers, in their armored vehicle during a battle against Syrian rebels, in eastern Ghouta, Syria. The International Committee of the Red Cross said a second convoy that was supposed to carry aid to the besieged rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus was postponed Thursday because of the violence and rapidly evolving situation on the ground.

SANA via AP
Philippines abstains from UN vote to stop massacre in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) - March 14, 2018 - 10:56am
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines was among the 14 countries that abstained from voting on the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to stop the massacre of civilians in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.
 
Last week, the UN council, voting 29-4-14, adopted a resolution calling for the full implementation of at least 30-day ceasefire agreement in Syria and accountability for human rights violations.
 
The resolution also condemned the sustained denial of humanitarian access, repeated attacks against medical facilities, indiscriminate use of heavy weapons and aerial bombardments, and the use of chemical weapons by Syrian authorities against civilians in the Syrian Arab Republic.
 
The UN council called on all parties, particularly Syrian authorities, to "meet their responsibility to protect the Syrian population and to end immediately all attacks against civilians in Eastern Ghouta."
 
Burundi, China, Cuba and Venezuela are the only countries that voted against the resolution.
 
Aside from the Philippines, the other countries that abstained from voting were Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
 
Those who voted in favor of the resolution were Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Qatar, South Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.
 
Russia had been voted off the Human Rights Council due to its conduct in Syria.
 
The council also requested the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to conduct a comprehensive and independent inquiry into the recent events in Eastern Ghouta.
 
The resolution came out on March 5 after the United Kingdom called for an urgent debate on the situation in the Syrian region.
 
"Let it not be thought that the perpetrators would get away with this," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.
 
Russia, on the other hand, insisted that the UN resolution had "nothing to do with real concerns for human rights in Syria."
 
In a statement, the Russian Embassy in the Philippines said that the UK delegation, supported by the US, refused to approve amendments by Russia and other countries, which aims to denounce terrorism in Syria and militants' shelling of residential areas in Damascus.
 
"One can once again, perceive the double standards of some countries whose delegations have declined to denounce terrorism in Syria out of considerations of the moment. The fact that on the voting day itself, the militants actually bargained over the conditions under which they would be willing to release their remaining civilian hostages, makes one particularly indignant," the Russian Embassy said.

HUMAN RIGHTS PHILIPPINES SYRIA UNITED NATIONS
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