West, Arab nations to call for UN rights session on Syria

17th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

European countries, the United States and Arab countries will ask the United Nations' top human rights body to hold a special session on the situation in Syria, diplomats told AFP Wednesday.

"We will submit the request (Wednesday) evening to convene a special session of the Human Rights Council on Monday," according to one European diplomat who wished to remain anonymous.

Another diplomat told AFP that more than 20 countries had signed the request, including European Union countries and the United States, in excess of the third of the council's 47 members needed to convene a special session.

The diplomat also said that all four Arab countries that are members of the council -- Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- had signed on to the request.

Both officials said the special session would aim at condemning Syria's actions and call for an investigation into the regime's deadly crackdown on demonstrators, as was the case during a previous special session held on April 29.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council will also hold a special session on Syria, with the participation of the UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay.

Rights groups say Syria's crackdown on protestors has killed 1,827 civilians since mid-March, while Damascus says 416 security force members have also died fighting "armed terrorists".

UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told AFP that although the UN still had not received a request for the special rights session, it would "most likely" come on Wednesday.

© 2011 AFP

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