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UN rights office urges halt to Syria violence

The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday urged the Syrian government to end their violent crackdown [press release] on protesters and permit an independent investigation into the current situation in the country. Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the OHCHR, said "We are extremely alarmed by ongoing reports of the increasingly brutal crackdown by Syrian authorities against protestors in Syria. Prominent human rights defenders, inside and outside the country, are reported to have been targeted. We are also concerned by reports of the targeting and attacking of families and sympathizers of the protestors by security forces." Shamdasani cited a recent incident in which an 18-year-old woman was tortured and died while in custody after being kidnapped by members of the security forces. Shamdasani again emphasized that it is critical for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites].

Earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said that at least 2,600 people have been killed in Syria in the crackdown [JURIST report] on anti-government protesters in the country. Last month, Pillay called on the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the ICC to investigate the violent suppression of anti-government protests [JURIST report]. Pillay's remarks came after the Fact-finding Mission in Syria published its 22-page report concluding that Syrian government forces cracking down on the opposition may be committing crimes against humanity [JURIST report].

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