Immediate ceasefire in Syria urgent: UN

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

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