Syria committed 'gross' violations, says UN
Published 03/12/2011 | 05:00
The United Nations top human rights forum strongly condemned Syria yesterday for "gross and systematic" violations by its forces, including executions, and set the stage for possible action by UN political bodies in New York.
The 47-member forum adopted a resolution put forward by the European Union by a vote of 37 states in favour and four against, including China and Russia, with six abstentions.
The text called for the "main bodies" of the UN to consider an agency report which found that crimes against humanity had been committed by the government of President Bashar al-Assad and "take appropriate action".
It also established the new post of a special human rights investigator on Syria.
Syria's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, denounced the resolution as "politicised" and urged countries to vote against it.
The US, which voted in favour, welcomed the result at the third emergency session held on Syria this year. All five Arab members -- Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- also backed the text.
"We've set the stage in a very substantive way for strong action by the UN if other entities choose to take the opportunity," US ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said.
"The evidence we have seen leaves no doubt about the complicity of Syrian authorities," she added.
More than 4,000 people have been killed during a military crackdown on street protesters that started in March and more than 14,000 people are believed to be in detention, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.