A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Violence against civilians prevalent in Syria: UN experts

UN Special Rapporteurs on summary executions, Christof Heyns [official website], and on torture, Juan Mendez [official profile], on Friday condemned [press release] the violence against peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders in Syria. Despite the government's promise of reform to end the prevalent violence in the country, the experts discovered that corruption, injustice and discrimination are still placing civilians under inhumane situations. They stated that violence against unrest is not a solution but a fuel to increase additional violence. It was reported that civilians now are taking up violent measures on their own to counter the government's law enforcement officials which would escalate the situation in Syria. The experts called on the government to ensure that the human rights of protesters and other civilians are protected and that justice is enforced.

Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] Friday that Syrian forces are sexually abusing men, women and children who have been detained during the ongoing conflict. Syria has been unsuccessful in dealing with the unrest plaguing the country and has drawn international criticism. On Thursday, a Amnesty International [advocacy website] report revealed [JURIST report] that Syrian armed forces are continuing to engage in a pattern of abuses against and deliberate killings of civilians. Earlier this month, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic had voiced his concern [JURIST report] that the violence in Syria amounts to crimes against humanity. He addressed the General Assembly on behalf of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] to urge the international community to convince both the Syrian government and the armed forces to cease their violence and ongoing human rights violations. Syria has been attacked for its human rights violations especially in the wake of last month's Houla incident that killed more than 100 people, including women and children. Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Council [official website] approved [JURIST report] in a 41-3 vote a resolution blaming "pro-regime elements" and government troops for the massacre in Houla. On the same day, the Syrian government released [JURIST report] more than 500 prisoners detained during pro-democracy demonstrations. The release of "arbitrarily detained persons" was a key point in the six-point plan which was supposed to begin on April 12 but has not yet been successfully executed despite a resolution approved [JURIST report] by the UN Security Council to send 300 unarmed soldiers and other civilian aid for 90 days to supervise the implementation of the plan. In May, a three-member Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report claiming that the Syrian security forces are predominantly responsible for the violence in the country.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.