SYRIA: “USE OF FORCE CONTINUES WITH AN ALARMING INTENSITY, MEASURES TAKEN INSUFFICIENT” SAY UNITED NATIONS EXPERTS
15 June 2012
The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on summary executions, Christof Heyns, and on torture, Juan Méndez, deplored today the escalation of violence in Syria and called on all parties to renounce violence and lay down arms.
“While the Syrian Government has taken some steps - such as reaching an agreement regarding modalities to provide humanitarian support - the reality is that the use of force continues with an alarming intensity,” the experts stressed. “The measures taken are insufficient.”
“The use of violence by all parties has inflicted a heavy toll on human life, in particular among civilians, and left many injured and without medical assistance,” the experts said, recalling that the Joint Special Envoy’s six-point plan has not been implemented.
“It is also alarming, that according to reports, two mass killings of civilians, including children, in Mazraat al-Qubeir and al-Haffa have been committed only a few days after the fourth special session of the Human Rights Council on Syria and the killings in El-Houleh,” they said.
The experts noted with grave concern the Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict referring to violations committed by Government forces and pro-Government paramilitary groups including the use of children as human shields and the killing and maiming of children, the majority of whom have been victims of military operations.
Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez also pointed out that, according to the United Nations independent Commission of Inquiry, anti-Government armed groups have also committed human rights abuses, including the capture and unlawful killing of members of Government forces. “Perpetrators should be held to account”, they said. “We reiterate our appeal to the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.”
To allow a thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged human rights violations, they called again on the Syrian Government to fully cooperate with the independent Commission of Inquiry, the on the ground monitors of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria and Special Procedures, and grant them rapid and unfettered access to all parts of the country, and to all witnesses, victims, or their families.
Both experts urged all actors to exert all possible influence to solve the political and human rights crisis in Syria. They remain ready to provide technical assistance to the Syrian Government.
UN Human Rights, country page - Syria: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/SYIndex.aspx
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