UN report: war crimes escalating in Syria

[JURIST] A panel of UN human rights experts on Tuesday issued their latest report [text, PDF; UN News Centre report] on the Syria conflict [JURIST backgrounder], detailing escalating war crimes committed by both sides. Both France and the US have claimed to have found evidence regarding the limited use of Sarin [CNN report], a toxic gas, but it is not clear which side was using it in the conflict. The UN did not independently confirm the name of the toxic agent used. The report did, however, state that:

War crimes and gross violations of international human rights law—including summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, unlawful attack, attacking protected objects, and pillaging and destruction of property—have also been committed. The tragedy of Syria's 4.25 million internally displaced persons is compounded by recent incidents of IDPs being targeted and forcibly displaced.
According to a UN press release [text], "The commission remains convinced that a political settlement is the only means of stopping the violence."

The Syrian Civil War has been ongoing since 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [official website]. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] released a statement [text] on Saturday condemning the most recent violence [JURIST report] in Syria, and expressing concern over how it has been affecting the civilian population. Last week UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned the recent violence in Qusayr and criticized [JURIST reports] the broader human rights violations taking place in Syria. In May Pillay called for international action [JURIST report] after a series of massacres were carried out against Syrian civilians. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] condemned the Syrian Air Force for deliberately targeting civilians [JURIST report] in air strikes in rebel-controlled areas. In March HRW accused Syria's military [JURIST report] of using widely-banned cluster bombs against civilians.

 

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