Western nations call for special UN rights session on Syria

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Western countries will ask the United Nations' top human rights body to hold a special session on the deteriorating rights situation in Syria, a European diplomat told AFP Wednesday.

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

The official said that over 16 countries had signed the request, more than the required third of the body's 47 members needed to call a special session.

"All EU members and some Arab states are on board," the diplomat said, adding that signatory nations would call for a condemnation and investigation into Syria's deadly crackdown on demonstrators.

Rights groups say the regime's crackdown 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 session, it would "most likely" come on Wednesday.

© 2011 AFP

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