'Independent' UN rights expert condemning Caesar's Law sanctions is Kremlin-allied Belarusian academic, RT regular

Dec 29, 2020

A statement issued by the United Nations report on Tuesday cites Alena Douhan, the UN’s ‘special rapporteur on the negative impacts of unilateral coercive measures on human rights’, who expressed concern that the sanctions imposed on Bashar al-Assad’s regime under the Caesar Act “risk exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in the course of COVID-19 pandemic, and put Syrians at even greater risk of rights violations.”

This is indeed a dire prediction, more especially since the Caesar Act, designed by Syrians in exile, is specifically concerned with protecting and strengthening Syrians’ long-withheld rights and punishing the regime officials and allies who deny them, and takes great care not to target humanitarian aid. Indeed, the UN’s special rapporteur, despite presumably working with her UN colleague, the special envoy to Syria, currently Norway's Geir Pedersen, seems not to have studied the Caesar Act.

Ms. Douhan, a Belarusian academic, appears regularly on Russia Today and other Kremlin-owned Russian state TV channels to share her concerns about Syrians’ human rights except for those withheld by the Assad regime, Russia or Iran’s regime. In Tuesday’s report, she stated, “What particularly alarms me is the way the Caesar Act runs roughshod over human rights, including the Syrian people’s rights to housing, health, and an adequate standard of living and development.”

In Tuesday's report, the Special Rapporteur continued, “The US Government must not put obstacles in the way of rebuilding of hospitals because lack of medical care threatens the entire population’s very right to life.”

Apart from the rapporteur’s failure to note – as the UN has done previously – that the Assad regime and Russia are responsible for the deliberately targeted destruction of hospitals in Syria and the deliberate targeting of medics and healthcare workers, this is an odd claim for the UN to make since, according to a statement in August from the Russian Official Portal of Legal Information, "the Syrian Arab Republic agrees to transfer a piece of land and water area in Latakia province to Russia to establish a medical treatment and rehabilitation centre for Russian air force staff."

Clearly, if the construction of hospitals and rehabilitation centres is a problem, nobody told the Assad regime or its primary backers in Moscow.

Nowhere in Tuesday’s report or in her previous reports has Ms. Douhan mentioned the Assad regime’s and its Russian and Iranian accomplices’ withholding of any rights to the millions of Syrians left destitute and dispossessed by almost a decade of a relentless regime blitzkrieg unleashed in retaliation for citizens’ demands for fundamental human rights. She remains equally silent on the regime’s wholesale destruction of villages, towns and city neighbourhoods, its dispossession of millions, its targeting of hospitals and healthcare workers, its torture and disappearance of tens if not hundreds of thousands of dissidents, its starvation sieges, and its continuing withholding of aid. This silence is hardly surprising since her work on human rights appears to consist almost exclusively of tracts depicting the Kremlin's victims as aggressors.

While the UN report notes that its Special Rapporteurs are part of what’s known as the ‘Special Procedures’ of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC), working on a voluntary basis unpaid by the UN and supposedly independent from any government or organization, it doesn’t mention that Ms. Douhan’s post was created by a 2014 resolution introduced at the UNHRC by the Assad regime’s backers in Iran on behalf of the Assad regime, its backers in Tehran and Moscow, and their allies.

Like Ms. Douhan, her late predecessor in the post, Idriss Jazairy, who passed away in 2019, was a regular guest on Russian and Iranian state TV, with both he and his successor showing tireless commitment to and concern to protecting the human rights of the leaders in Moscow, Tehran and their client states.

[1] https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/12/1081032

Picture: Still from RT show with Alena Douhan