Although the event was standard U.N. practice and Jaafari was not the only ambassador to receive honorifics during the ceremony, many were upset to see Jaafari grouped in with other ambassadors due to the extraordinary violence the Assad regime has unleashed upon civilians in Syria.
“How can the UN secretary-general be taken seriously on the Syrian’s regime’s mass murder in Aleppo when he pins awards on the chest of Bashar Jaafari, the murderer’s most infamous mouthpiece?” asked Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based NGO U.N. Watch.
“Equally troubling is that Dutch ambassador Karel van Oosterom tweeted this out as something normal, just as he also has been a frequent cheerleader for the Venezuelan regime that oppresses its people and causes mass hunger”, Neuhel added.
Ban Ki-Moon pinned honorific medals on the participants as part of the event, which was organized by the International Association of Permanent Representatives (IAPR).
“I could not believe that Ban Ki-moon in the last few weeks of his 10-year tenure would do such a thing”, said the editor of the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI)’s website.
“On the same day that Ban Ki-moon gave Jaafari a memento, dozens of Syrian civilians were killed and wounded due to Assad’s murderous bombing. Three days later, a school in Idlib was bombed in which dozens of children were killed. Ban himself described the incident as a war crime.”
Syria has been accused of war crimes several times by U.N. and Western officials, including by French president François Hollande and by Ban Ki-Moon, for its use of illegal weapons and its indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
It was recently discovered that the Syrian regime used chlorine gas for third time (other suspected uses of chlorine gas were not proven). The Assad regime, with Russian support, has also used incendiary bombs which burn victims alive. Schools and hospitals are frequently struck by Russian bombs. Syria has not, however, been formally investigated for war crimes.