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UN rights chief: more than 4,000 dead in Syria conflict

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] stated on Thursday that the death toll in Syria during the eight-month uprising [JURIST news archive] has surpassed 4,000 [video and transcript]. Pillay recommended that the UN Security Council [official website] take action and refer Syria to the International Criminal Court [official website] for an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian government. On Wednesday the Syrian National Council [official website], a civilian opposition group, agreed to coordinate resistance efforts [Hurriyet Daily News report] with the Free Syrian Army [BBC report], the main military opposition group composed of Syrian military defectors. Pillay stated that Syria has "slipped into a state of Civil War."

The Syrian government has faced numerous allegations of human rights violations since March when the first anti-government protests started. On Monday the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria reported that the Syrian Arab Republic has committed numerous human rights violations [JURIST report] including torture, sexual violence, use of excessive force and violations of the right to peaceful assembly. Last week, the UN General Assembly's Human Rights Committee approved [JURIST report] a draft resolution [text, PDF] condemning the Syria's human rights violations calling for an immediate end to them. The death toll of Syrian protesters steadily increased since the beginning of the first outbreak of anti-government protests and earlier this month, the number exceeded 3,500 [JURIST report], an increase of 900 from September's number [JURIST report]. The allegations of human rights violations continued to increase as well and last month, Syria was urged [JURIST report] to allow UN human rights experts to conduct investigations into these allegations. In August, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] recommended [JURIST report] the UN Security Council [official website] to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for the violence against anti-government protests after her demand [JURIST report] to the Syrian government to stop the killings of protesters in March.

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