UN Rights Chief Says Crimes Against Humanity Continue in Syria and Must Not Go Unpunished
The U.N. human rights chief decried Syria’s escalating crackdown on civilian protesters Monday and warned that the Security Council’s failure to take action has emboldened the Syrian government to launch an all-out assault to crush dissent.
Navi Pillay expressed fears that the deliberate stirring of sectarian tensions may plunge Syria into civil war. She said there are strong indications of ongoing crimes against humanity and again appealed for President Bashar Assad’s government to be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Standing before the 193-member General Assembly, Pillay said tens of thousands of people, including children, have been arrested, more than 18,000 reportedly are still arbitrarily detained, and thousands more are reported missing. Another 25,000 people are estimated to have sought refuge in neighboring countries, and more than 70,000 are estimated to be internally displaced, she added.
The General Assembly is expected to consider a nonbinding resolution similar to the Security Council resolution that Russia and China vetoed on Feb. 4.
The resolution backs an Arab League plan that calls for Assad to hand power to his vice president and allow creation of a unity government to clear the way for elections. There are no vetoes in the assembly, and diplomats said a vote on the Arab-sponsored resolution could take place late this week