Syria storms out of UN rights meeting
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 21:11
  
Geneva: Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva stormed out of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday after angrily demanding that countries stop "inciting sectarianism and providing arms" to opposition forces in the country.

Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui said sanctions were preventing Damascus from buying medicines and fuel and then abruptly left the Geneva forum's emergency debate called at the request of Gulf countries and Turkey, and backed by the West.

Geneva: Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva stormed out of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday after angrily demanding that countries stop "inciting sectarianism and providing arms" to opposition forces in the country.

Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui said sanctions were preventing Damascus from buying medicines and fuel and then abruptly left the Geneva forum's emergency debate called at the request of Gulf countries and Turkey, and backed by the West.

"Deteriorating situation"

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she was appalled at the rapidly deteriorating rights and humanitarian situation in Syria and shelling of Homs.

Hospitals are overwhelmed and makeshift clinics have been set up in hard-hit areas to treat the wounded, she said.

Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge, reiterated that Syria should be referred to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The urgent debate came at the request of Turkey and three Gulf countries, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with backing from the United States and European Union.

The 47-member forum, which has moral authority but no legal force, looked set to adopt a resolution condemning Syria's "continued widespread and systematic violations," diplomats said.

Drafted by the Arab countries and Turkey, the resolution condemns "the use of heavy artillery and tanks to attack residential areas ... that have led to the death of thousands of innocent civilians."

It also voices alarm at the humanitarian crisis in areas lacking food, medicine and fuel and calls for aid agencies to be allowed to deliver vital supplies to civilians in heavily hit areas, especially Homs, Deraa and Zabadani.

"There will be a wide majority of states in favor. It will pass easily," an Arab diplomat told Reuters before the meeting.

"We should expect Russia, Cuba and Ecuador to vote against it. On China, is not clear," he said.

Assad sent units of an elite armored division into Homs on Tuesday as rebel-held districts came under the heaviest bombardment of a three-week offensive, opposition sources in the city said.

The Council opened its annual four-week session on Monday, days after UN investigators accused the highest levels of the Syrian government and army of ordering crimes against humanity including murder, rape and torture.

Bureau Report


First Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 21:11


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