UN urges Syria to stop violent crackdowns against protesters

June 9th, 2011 - 9:31 pm ICT by BNO News  

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations (UN) on Thursday condemned the ongoing violent crackdown against peaceful protesters by Syrian authorities and called on the Government to respond to the repeated requests to allow a fact-finding mission to visit the country.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the UN was receiving an increasing number of alarming reports pointing to the Syrian Government’s continuing efforts to “ruthlessly crush civilian protests.”

“It is utterly deplorable for any government to attempt to bludgeon its population into submission, using tanks, artillery and snipers,” Pillay added. “I urge the Government to halt this assault on its own people‚Äôs most fundamental human rights.”

In addition, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others are now reporting that the number of men, women and children killed since the protests began in March has exceeded 1,100, with up to 10,000 or more detained.

However, “bare statistics do not reveal the full extent of individual crimes and suffering,” Pillay underlined, making reference to to the case of 13-year-old boy Hamza al-Khatib, who was allegedly abducted and tortured to death by local security forces.

“The unimaginably cruel murder and mutilation of this child seems to be emblematic of the moral and legal bankruptcy of the apparent policy of crushing dissent by all available means,” the UN High Commissioner stated.

Pillay also voiced particular concern about reports of civilians fleeing the north-western town of Jisr al-Shughour in the wake of recent threatening statements by Government officials and reminded neighboring countries that no one from Syria should be returned against their will in view of the current human rights situation. She also urged States to keep their borders open for refugees fleeing Syria.

In April, the UN Human Rights Council authorized a fact-finding mission to Syria to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law. Pillay urged the authorities to cooperate and to grant her team access to the country, but the UN has not received any official reply from Syria, “either positive or negative,” she noted.

Pillay’s human rights team is scheduled to issue a preliminary report on the situation in Syria to the Geneva-based Council next week, as the UN Security Council considers a draft resolution condemning the violence in Syria that was tabled Wednesday but has not yet been acted on.

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