[JURIST] The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria [official website] warned [press release] the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday that the continuing civil war in Syria conflict has “reached a tipping point, threatening the entire region.” The Commission was established by the UN Human Rights Council in August 2011 to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law during the Syria conflict. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro [official profile], Chair of the Commission, condemned the international response to the conflict in Syria, stating:
We have traveled historic distances in pursuit of justice in the former Yugoslavia, in Sierra Leone and in Rwanda, to name a few. But the international community has stumbled and fallen when it has come to seeking justice for, and in our protection of the Syrian people.
Pinheiro implored the Council to help work towards a negotiated political settlement at the same time criticizing what he has seen as an abandonment of a “political solution” in favor of support through “weapons and financial support.” The Chair painted a grim picture of the current situation in Syria citing the government’s use of barrel bombs, “widespread and systematic” torture and humanitarian denial of aid to civilians by government and rebel forces. A representative of the Syrian government, speaking as the concerned country, dismissed the report stating it “was based on alleged statements by justice evaders and even terrorists.” The Commission has collected over 3,000 interviews indicating a massive number of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.
The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] has persisted for almost three years. The conflict has been highlighted by countless human rights violations and use of chemical weaponry, which has created mounting pressure among the international community to find an end to the conflict. Earlier this month Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [JURIST news archive] declared [JURIST report] a general amnesty for the country’s prisoners, appearing to apply the decree to at least some anti-government activists and protesters, according to the official SANA news agency [official website]. In May UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] condemned [JURIST report] both the Syrian government and the armed rebels for their callousness towards the hardships both groups have imposed on the people of Aleppo. Also in May Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [JURIST report] in a press release that it has strong evidence the Syrian government used chemical weapons on three rebel-held towns in Northern Syria last month.