Syria unrest death toll soars past 3,000: UN rights chief

14th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 3,000 people have been killed in Syria since popular protests broke out in mid-March, the UN human rights chief said Friday, urging international action to prevent civil war in the country.

"The number of people killed since the violence started in March has now exceeded 3,000, including at least 187 children. More than 100 people have been reported killed in the last 10 days alone," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Attributing the heavy death toll to "sniping from rooftops and indiscriminate use of force against peaceful protestors," she said: "The government of Syria has manifestly failed to protect its population."

The international community should therefore step up to do so, the UN rights chief urged.

"The onus is on all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective and decisive manner before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war," Pillay said.

"The international community must speak with one voice and act to protect the Syrian people," she added.

Besides the dead and injured, "thousands have been arrested, detained, forcibly disappeared and tortured," Pillay said.

Family members both within and outside of Syria have also suffered harassment, intimidation, threats and beatings.

"As more members of the military refuse to attack civilians and change sides, the crisis is already showing worrying signs of descending into an armed struggle," Pillay warned.

© 2011 AFP

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