Immediate ceasefire in Syria urgent: UN
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 21:03
Geneva: There needs to be an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Syria, the UN human rights chief declared on Tuesday, saying the situation has deteriorated rapidly as the Assad regime steps up its onslaught against the opposition.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the world has to take action to prevent Syrian security forces from continuing their bombardments and other attacks against civilians, which she said had resulted in "countless atrocities."

Speaking at an urgent meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, Pillay urged Syria to end all fighting, allow international monitors to enter the country and give unhindered access for aid agencies to enter Homs and other embattled cities.

The appeal prompted a bitter riposte from Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, who accused the 47-nation council of promoting terrorism in his country.

Before walking out of the room, Fayssal al-Hamwi said today's meeting would only prolong the crisis in Syria.

"The call for holding the session is part of a pre-established plan," he said. "It is aimed at attacking the Syrian state and its institutions under the pretext of humanitarian needs."

The United Nations has estimated at least 5,400 people have been killed since the uprising began in March, but anti-government activists put the current figure at over 8,000.

A senior US diplomat said the time had come for nations to stop all financial and material support to President Bashar Assad's regime a dig at Russia, which has long sold arms to Damascus and together with China has repeatedly used its Security Council veto to block international action on Syria.

"None can deny that Bashar al-Assad and his criminal cohort are waging a brutal campaign of slaughter, bombardment, torture, and arrest that already has murdered thousands of women, men and children, with more killed each day," said Esther Brimmer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.

"Without a halt to the killing and a guarantee of immediate humanitarian access, this despicable regime will murder many more before this heinous chapter in Syria's history is over," she said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 21:03

Tag: CeasefireSyriaUN
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