[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Thursday urged world powers [press release] to work toward ending the violence in Syria. Pillay, who previously served as a UN war crimes judge, cited the possibility that both the Syrian Army and the Free Syrian Army have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. In her statement, she emphasized the importance of coming together to aide Syria during this conflict:
I urge the Security Council to speak with one voice. That is essential in order to send a strong message. The longer this vicious conflict continues, the more lethal it becomes not just for Syria’s own long-term future, but also for the entire region. Already, the spill-over into Turkey is threatening regional peace and security. I fear for Syia’s children, many of whom will be scarred for life by the dreadful and prolonged traumatic experience they are suffering. … By remaining divided, the international community is enabling the continuation of the suffering and helping create the circumstances for a wider regional conflict.
Extending her focus to other nearby countries, Pillay also expressed concern for the fragile situation of those people in revolutionary uprisings including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.
Since 2011, Syria has been engaged in an ongoing internal conflict between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army [official website]. Pillay’s statement comes at a time of civil uprising and increased concern over the conflict in Syria. Last week a human rights watchdog uncovered evidence of the Syrian military using banned cluster bombs [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, the investigative commission on Syria testified before the UN Human Rights Council that human rights violations in Syria were committed by both sides and increasing in severity and number [JURIST report]. Pillay has previously addressed the rights violations [JURIST report] faced by Syrian citizens. In July Amnesty International accused government forces and rebels in Syria of summarily capturing and killing [JURIST report] opposition forces in violation of international humanitarian law.