Human Rights Council focuses on Syrian massacre

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UN Supervision Mission in Syria

The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding an emergency special session on the on-going violence and deteriorating human rights situation in Syria.

The session comes after the recent massacre of 108 civilians including 49 children, and 34 women in the village of El-Houleh.

The Syrian government has blamed armed rebel groups for the killings.

In a statement to the Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said available evidence suggests that the killings took place during an all night assault on the town by the Syrian military.

She said the Syrian government must assume its responsibility to protect the civilian population adding that those who order, assist, or fail to stop attacks on civilians are individually criminally liable for their actions.

The statement by the High Commissioner was read by Marcia Kran.

"These acts may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes, and may be indicative of a pattern of widespread or systematic attacks against civilian populations that have been perpetrated with impunity. I urge the international community to throw its weight behind the Joint Envoy's six-point plan and call for the conduct of immediate investigations into the El-Houleh events, as well as into other human rights violations committed in Syria. Otherwise, the situation in Syria might descend into a full-fledged conflict and the future of the country, as well as the region as a whole, could be in grave danger."

Duration: 45"

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