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Rights violations in Syria soar - UN

17 September 2012, 15:29

Geneva - Serious human rights violations have soared dramatically in Syria in recent weeks, the head of a UN commission tasked with probing the abuses said on Monday.

"Gross violations of human rights have grown in number, in pace and in scale," Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a top UN investigator told diplomats gathered in Geneva.

"The frequency with which these egregious violations occur outstrips the commission's ability to investigate them," he said, lamenting that "civilians, many of them children, are bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence".

Speaking during the 21st session of the UN's Human Rights Council, he presented an updated version of the CoI's report last month, which charged that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, and the opposition to a lesser extent, had committed war crimes during the 18-month crisis.

Since that report, the situation has gotten even worse, he said.

"The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic has deteriorated to such a degree that it is difficult to describe," he said.
The death toll from spiralling conflict has risen to more than 27 000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on activist accounts from the ground. The United Nations puts the toll at 20 000.

Rebel fighters were not spared in the probe, which also found them guilty of war crimes, including murder, extrajudicial execution and torture.

After Pinheiro's presentation, Faysal Khabbaz Hamouia, a representative of the Syrian government, slammed the report as inaccurate.

"Syria calls on all who support the bloodshed of its people ... to stop doing so," he said, charging that the international community was stoking the flames of the conflict, while 17 countries were sending "jihadist terrorists" to fight for the "fragmentation of the Middle East into Islamic emirates".



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