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UN rights council orders extension of Syria probe

Last Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 21:46

Geneva: The UN Human Rights Council ordered on Friday an extension of a probe into violations in Syria, asking investigators to map out abuses since a deadly crackdown on protests in the country erupted a year ago.

The resolution was passed by the 47-member state council
with 41 votes in favour, two abstentions and three -- Russia,
China and Cuba -- against.

"The Syrian authorities have manifestly failed in their
responsibility to protect the Syrian population, and have
committed gross human rights violations which may amount to
crimes against humanity," said a Danish envoy on behalf of the
European Union while presenting the resolution.

"Therefore, this resolution focuses on accountability for
human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities.

Perpetrators must be held to account," he added.
"Given the gravity of the situation, we have no choice
but to extend the mandate of the commission of inquiry."

A commission of inquiry dispatched by the council said in
February it had handed to the UN rights chief a list of regime
officials suspected of crimes against humanity.

It also documented a "widespread and systematic pattern
of gross violations" committed by Syrian forces.

The resolution today asked the commission to continue
reporting back about the situation during the council`s June

As part of its mandate to catalogue abuses, the
investigators were also asked for "assessment of casualty
figures" that should be published periodically.

Syria`s envoy angrily rejected the resolution, saying it
"reflects a politicisation and a biased viewpoint" of the

Monitors say more than 9,100 people have been killed in
the unrest that started with peaceful protests in March 2011
before turning into an armed revolt, faced with a brutal
crackdown which has cost dozens of lives each day.


First Published: Friday, March 23, 2012 - 21:46
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