UN rights chief urges Syria to halt assault on population
The UN human rights chief on Thursday urged Syria to halt an assault on its people, saying that it was "deplorable for any government to attempt to bludgeon is population into submission."
"We are receiving an increasing number of alarming reports pointing to the Syrian government's continuing efforts to ruthlessly crush civilian protests," said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"It is utterly deplorable for any government to attempt to bludgeon its population into submission, using tanks, artillery and snipers.
"I urge the government to halt this assault on its own people's most fundamental human rights," Pillay said.
Activists are now reporting that the death toll since March has exceeded 1,100, with up to 10,000 detained, the UN rights chief said.
Noting that Damascus has disputed allegations of violations, Pillay urged authorities to allow UN investigators into probe these claims.
Since the UN Human Rights Council ordered a probe to be set up on April 29, Pillay has sought access to Damascus, but Syrian authorities have yet to reply.
About 1,600 Syrians have fled to Turkey amid the unrest, with the outflow intensifying since Tuesday.
Pillay called on Syria's neighbours not to return any refugees to the country in the current situation.
"I urge states to keep their borders open for refugees fleeing Syria," she said.
© 2011 AFP