UN rights office calls for international response to Syria

19th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Syrian regime's bloody crackdown on protestors is intensifying, the UN human rights office said Monday as it called for a global response to alleviate the "dire situation" in Syria.

"Despite the mounting international pressure in the past six months since the start of protests,... the bloody crackdown in Syria has intensified," UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kang Kyung-wha said.

"In the past few weeks, large protests across Syria have appealed for international protection and presence of international monitors," she told the UN Human Rights Council.

"That is indicative of the increasingly dire human rights situation in Syria and the urgency of an effective international response to address it.

"This council and its members should continue to use all means available in this regard," she added, pointing out that over 2,600 people have been killed by security forces since protests broke out in mid-March.

Kang noted that while the Syrian government has promised political reforms, "it has continuously undermined those promises by more excessive use of force, killing of demonstrators, mass arrests, raids on cities, torture and other abuses."

The regime has also rejected the findings of a fact-finding mission dispatched by Kang's office to the country, saying that it was "armed gangs" that have killed the majority of people.

The mission had found that the regime's crackdown on protests may amount to crimes against humanity and urged the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

On Monday, the Syrian government rejected the findings, saying that they were "based on hoax information and undocumented data."

A Syrian envoy told the council that the mission's report is "biased and drawn up for ulterior motives to satisfy certain countries."

He claimed that violence was carried out by "gang members" and that "the events that have taken place have nothing to do with peaceful protests."

"These acts are dangerous acts which have undermined our economy as well as the tourism sectors," he insisted.

The envoy warned that coming to conclusions such as those in the mission's report would make the UN human rights office a "partner to plotters to destabilise Syria and its people.

"These unprofessional reports will no longer be credible and will impede the dialogue and willingness of countries to participate in this dialogue," he warned.

© 2011 AFP

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