Thursday, February 23, 2012

Syria: "Widespread, Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations"

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic has issued its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.  The report concludes, among other things, that Syrian government forces "have committed widespread, systematic and gross human rights violations, amounting to crimes against humanity, with the apparent knowledge and consent of the highest levels of the State. Anti-Government armed groups have also committed abuses, although not comparable in scale and organization with those carried out by the State" (A/HRC/19/69, para. 126).  In an apparent reference to the veto exercised on February 4 by Russia and China of a Security Council resolution designed to pressure the Assad regime to negotiate a settlement of the conflict in Syria, the report notes that "diverging agendas within a deeply divided international community complicate the prospects for ending the violence" (A/HRC/19/69, para. 122).