News / Middle East

UN Rights Chief: Syrians Suffering From War

A boy rides a bicycle in front of damaged buildings in Homs, Syria, May 24, 2013.
A boy rides a bicycle in front of damaged buildings in Homs, Syria, May 24, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said the international community has failed to protect the victims of Syria’s civil war.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed the Human Rights Council on Syria at the United Nations in Geneva, September 10, 2012 file photo.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed the Human Rights Council on Syria at the United Nations in Geneva, September 10, 2012 file photo.
x
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed the Human Rights Council on Syria at the United Nations in Geneva, September 10, 2012 file photo.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addressed the Human Rights Council on Syria at the United Nations in Geneva, September 10, 2012 file photo.
In an opening speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said civilians are bearing the brunt of the Syrian conflict.  

“A humanitarian, political and social disaster is already upon us, and what looms is truly a nightmare… Yet the international community seems unable to make a strong commitment to resolving the crisis," she said. "I urge states to make every effort to forge an end to this humanitarian disaster, for it sometimes seems that we can do little more than cry out in the darkness and try to count the dead.”  

The United Nations estimates more than 70,000 people have been killed since fighting in Syria began 26 months ago.

Some five million people have become internally displaced and more than 1.5 million Syrian civilians have become refugees in neighboring countries.

Syrian Refugees by Country

Lebanon: 511,418
Jordan: 472,631
Turkey: 376,640
Iraq: 155,139
Egypt: 77,169

Source: UNHCR
Pillay said about one-third of Syria’s population of 22 million are in need of international aid. She said both the government and opposition rebels are committing human rights violations.

“These war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot be allowed to go unpunished," she said. "We must make it clear to both the government and the armed opposition groups that there will be consequences for those responsible. And the world must take action to end this terrible conflict.” 

Besides Syria, Pillay said she is alarmed by ongoing ethnic and religious violence in other regions, including attacks on Muslim communities in Burma’s Rakhine State.  

Pillay said she will be presenting reports on the human rights situation in Mali and in South Sudan during the council’s three-week session. And, she will be sending a fact-finding mission to the Central African Republic, which, she said is teetering on the verge of anarchy.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More