News / Middle East

UN Rights Council to Probe Syrian Violence

Overview of the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in Syria in Geneva August 22, 2011.
Overview of the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in Syria in Geneva August 22, 2011.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has ordered an investigation into possible rights violations committed by Syrian security forces during a deadly crackdown against dissent.

The 47-member council voted Tuesday to approve a resolution by a 33 - 4 margin, with the rest of the members abstaining.  China and Russia were among those that opposed the measure, saying it was an unnecessary intervention.

Crackdown

The council's action comes a day after witnesses and rights groups said Syrian forces killed eight people as thousands of anti-government protesters taunted President Bashar al-Assad.

The witnesses said several hundred people converged on the main square in the central city of Homs Monday after a U.N. humanitarian team visited the town. Pro-government troops fired on the protesters, many of whom had shouted "Gadhafi is gone; now it is your turn, Bashar!" Six people were reported killed.

Similar demonstrations were held in other Syrian cities, including Hama, where two more civilians were reported killed.

Criticism

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay (File)
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay (File)

Earlier Monday, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said the Syrian government has resorted to an apparent "shoot-to-kill" policy against civilians. She told the U.N. Human Rights Council that more than 2,200 people have been killed in the unrest. The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, also briefed the council Monday, saying the "threshold of systematic and widespread violence has clearly been reached."

All four Arab nations on the U.N. body - Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - joined calls condemning the violence and urged Syria to cooperate with an international investigation on whether crimes against humanity have been committed in the country. The U.N. team in Homs had been granted permission to visit some of the protest centers to assess the humanitarian situation in those locations.

Assad

Also Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is "troubling" that Assad has not kept his word about ending the brutal military crackdown in his country.

Ban told reporters in New York that the Syrian president assured him in a recent phone conversation that military operations had stopped.

The Syrian leader has defended his crackdown by describing the opposition as armed gangs and terrorists. He also said criticism from Western countries means nothing to him.

The United States, the European Union and other Western powers have said that Assad must step down.

The Syrian leader repeated plans to introduce reforms, adding that he expects new elections for Syria's national assembly in six months. He said that laws on the establishment of new political parties will be ready in the next few days, and that people who want to create a new party will have a 45-day period to apply through a committee.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
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 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 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