News / Middle East

UN Commission: Syrian Forces Committed 'Crimes Against Humanity'

In this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA, supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad attend a rally at al-Sabaa Bahrat square in Damascus, Syria, November 28, 2011.
In this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA, supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad attend a rally at al-Sabaa Bahrat square in Damascus, Syria, November 28, 2011.
Margaret Besheer

A United Nations commission investigating allegations of human rights violations in Syria says Syrian forces committed crimes against humanity during the government's ongoing crackdown on dissent. The commission called Monday for the government to put an immediate end to the violence, investigate rights violations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The U.N. Human Rights Council established the fact-finding commission in August. The three-member panel, headed by Paulo Pinheiro, a Brazilian human rights expert, presented its first report Monday at a news conference in Geneva.

Pinheiro said the panel and its team of investigators gathered first-hand information from at least 223 victims and witnesses from the end of September through mid-November. He would not go into detail about how they gathered that information but said it amounted to a “solid body of evidence.”

He said the panel concluded that the army and security forces committed serious crimes under international law.

“The commission has concluded based on its findings that members of the Syrian army and security force have committed crimes against humanity in their repression of a largely civilian population in the context of a peaceful protest movement," said Pinheiro. "These crimes include murder, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty, which occurred in different locations including, but not limited, to Damascus, Daraa, Duma, Hama, Homs, Idlib, and along the borders with Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.”

He said the commission also concluded that these human rights violations could not have happened without the consent of the highest ranking state officials. He said under international law, the state is responsible for these violations and bears the duty to punish the perpetrators and compensate the victims.

Among its recommendations, the panel calls on Syrian authorities to put an immediate end to the violations of human rights; release those arbitrarily detained and provide access to international monitoring bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It also recommends that the U.N. panel of inquiry be allowed into Syria.

Among the report's other findings: more than 250 children have been killed by state forces; men and boys reported being victims of rape and sexual torture; schools have been used as detention facilities and sniper posts; and the sick and injured were denied medical assistance.

Pinhero said his commission received no cooperation from the Syrian government, which has not publicly commented on the findings. He called on the authorities to cooperate with the panel as it prepares a second report due in March. He said full access would also allow the commission to investigate Syrian claims that protestors have also participated in violent acts.

The panel’s report will go to the Human Rights Council and the U.N. General Assembly. It will be up to those bodies to decide what to do next.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid