Rape and massacres being perpetrated with impunity in Syria

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Press Encounter with Mr. Paulo Pinheiro, Chairman of the Commission of the Inquiry on Syria. [UN Photo/Rick Bajornas]

The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria says the conflict in the country has taken a dangerous turn with both government and opposition groups committing gross human rights violations including rape, murder torture, recruitment and use of child soldiers and pillage.

In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Commission of Inquiry says massacres and widespread attacks on the civilian population are being committed with impunity throughout the country.

The report says the perpetrators of these violations and crimes, on all sides, act in defiance of international law and that they do not fear accountability.

The Commission says there is an urgent need for a cessation of hostilities and a return to negotiations, leading to a political settlement.

Paulo Pinheiro is the chairperson of the Commission.

"Tens of thousands of lives have been lost. Over six million Syrians have fled their homes, each with a story of devastation and loss. Entire communities now live in tents or containers outside Syria's borders, with millions more displaced inside Syria. A society has been ripped apart. Failure to bring about a political settlement has allowed the conflict not only to deepen in its intransigence but also to widen – expanding to new actors and to new, previously unimaginable crimes. For the Commission, charged with investigating violations of international law committed by all parties to the conflict, any response must be founded upon the protection of civilians. The nature of the war raging in Syria is such that the number of violations by all sides goes hand in hand with the intensity of the conflict itself." 

The Commission says any use of external military force in Syria will not only intensify the suffering inside the country, but will also serve to keep any hope for a political settlement beyond reach.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2:13″

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