'Grave concern' over Syria at the opening of the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights CouncilListen /
The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Vuk Jeremić, says that the Syrian people will continue to be subjected to untold hardship if the violence in the country is allowed to continue. Speaking at the opening of the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva he said that bringing hostilities to an end immediately should be the international community's top priority: "The Universal Declaration defined human rights as the 'foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.' It is in this context that I wish to underline my grave concern at the perpetuation of the most horrific humanitarian tragedy of our times — the bloodbath of Syria. There is a manifest danger that the violence will simply be allowed to run its course — a scenario that would continue to disproportionately affect the civilian population."
The situation in Syria will appear on the agenda several times during this session of the Human Rights Council, along with the human rights situation in countries including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar and Iran.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, says that anyone committing serious human rights violations must be held accountable: "War crimes continue to be committed in numerous internal conflicts including those continuing in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria. We must continue to nurture and strengthen the system designed to deal with such crimes and violations, and those who commit them."
The Human Rights Council runs until the 22nd of March.
Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva