News / Middle East

UN Rights Chief 'Outraged' by Syrian Attacks

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay (file photo)
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay (file photo)
Larry Freund

The United Nations human rights chief said Monday she is outraged by what she called the Syrian government’s serious violations of civilian rights.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told the General Assembly she is very distressed that the continued ruthless repression and deliberate stirring of sectarian tensions in Syria might soon plunge the country into civil war. She said the failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the Syrian government to launch an all-out assault in an effort to crush dissent with overwhelming force.

On February 4, Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have endorsed an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.  The General Assembly is considering a similar resolution. Although General Assembly resolutions cannot be vetoed by any country, they do not carry the same force as resolutions adopted by the Security Council.

In her remarks to the General Assembly, Pillay said the nature and scale of human rights abuses committed by Syrian forces indicate that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed.

“Independent, credible and corroborated accounts indicate that these abuses have taken place as part of a widespread and systematic attack on civilians,” Pillay said.

The U.N. human rights chief says the attacks indicate approval or complicity of Syrian authorities at the highest levels. She said it is urgent that the international community act to protect the Syrian people.

Syria’s representative at the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, objected to the General Assembly meeting to discuss rights violations in his country.  He blamed the violence in Syria on those who, he said, are attempting to obtain political interests by using Syrian blood as currency.

“And I would say to those: 'stop killing my people. Stop your plots against Syria. Help the Syrian people; help the Syrian government to combat terrorism,'” Ja’afari said.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the Arab League’s new proposal for a peacekeeping force in Syria requires careful consideration.  But he added that a peacekeeping mission requires, first, a ceasefire.  He said armed groups opposing the government do not answer to anyone.

U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo called the information provided by the U.N. human rights chief deeply disturbing.

"It confirms, yet again, that the Assad regime is in blatant defiance of its commitments to the action plan it agreed to with the League of Arab States and its obligations under international law,” Dicarlo said.

DiCarlo said the United States supports the Syrian people’s demand for a unified Syria with a democratic, representative and inclusive government that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid