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Situation in Syria progressively deteriorating: human rights official

The head of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned Tuesday that ongoing fighting and systemic human rights violations were a matter of extreme concern for the country's desperate population and attempts to broker a political end to the five-year conflict.

"We briefed the council about the violations and war-crimes concerning the daily lives of the population," Paulo Pinheiro said in stakeout after giving an oral update to the United Nations Human Rights Council which is currently holding its 32nd session here.

"We affirmed our support to both the humanitarian and cessation of hostilities taskforces. Despite all the problems we think there is no other way to reach peace than by the process promoted by the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura," he added. Against the backdrop of reported child recruitment by Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups, the use of sieges as a war tactic and unlawful attacks carried by government forces, armed factions and terrorist groups, Pinheiro reminded the Council that more than half of Syria's population has been displaced as a result of protracted violence.

He also recalled the commission's findings that genocide was being perpetrated by the Islamic State against the country's Yazidi population. IS controls large swathes of Syrian territory, the report noted.

This was particularly concerning for delegations who called for an investigation into the crimes as well as a more proactive stance by the UN Security Council.

In light of the crisis which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, Pinheiro voiced the need for all states to support Syria peace talks which have been on hold since April, while calling for unconditional humanitarian access to be granted to reach all those in need of assistance.

He believed this could be achieved by implementing a number of confidence-building measures.

This would include putting an end to indiscriminate bombardments, releasing those prisoners who have been arbitrarily detained, setting up independent monitoring of detention centers and establishing mechanisms to deal with instances of missing and disappeared persons.

"We need all states to insist time and time again that influential states and the Security Council unconditionally support the political process. That they facilitate and foster dialogue amongst the warring parties. That they do not compromise for anything less than long lasting peace," he said.

Established in August 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, the Commission of Inquiry's mandate is to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in the war-torn country.

[Source: Xinhua, Geneva, 21Jun16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 23Jun16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.