UN Human Rights: Military force in Syria risks igniting a regional conflict

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UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay

United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says neither the threat of use of external military force nor the continued supply of arms to rebels will bring peace to Syria.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Ms Pillay said that the suffering of Syria's civilian population has reached unimaginable levels, adding that a military response or the continued supply of arms risks igniting a regional conflict, possibly resulting in many more deaths and even more widespread misery.

Ms Pillay said there was little doubt that chemical weapons had been used in Syria although the circumstances and responsibilities remain to be clarified.

She urged States with influence over the warring parties together with the United Nations to urgently find a way to bring both parties to the negotiating table and halt the bloodshed.

"There are no easy exits, no obvious pathway out of this nightmare, except the immediate negotiation of concrete steps to end the conflict. The International Community is late, very late, to take serious joint action to halt the downward spiral that has gripped Syria, slaughtering its people and destroying its cities. This is no time for powerful States to continue to disagree on the way forward, or for geopolitical interests to override the legal and moral obligation to save lives by bringing this conflict to an end. The suffering of Syria's civilian population has reached unimaginable levels. Today the number of dead stands at over 100,000. Last week the number of refugees reached two million, and an additional 4 million people are displaced inside Syria. Camps in neighbouring lands are struggling to cope and we are just a few months away from winter."

Ms Pillay said she remains alarmed at the continuing violence in Egypt and Iraq and the harsh clampdown on human rights defenders and peaceful protesters in Bahrain.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2.04″

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December 2017
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