The Straits Times
Published on Sep 17, 2012

UN probe wants 'appropriate action' as Syria abuses soar


GENEVA (AFP) - Serious human rights violations have soared dramatically in Syria in recent weeks, the head of a UN commission tasked with probing the abuses said on Monday, calling for "appropriate action" against war criminals in the country.

"Gross violations of human rights have grown in number, in pace and in scale," Mr Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a top UN investigator told diplomats gathered in Geneva Monday, as violence rattled Damascus and Syria's second city Aleppo.

He said violations were occuring with such frequency that it was becoming impossible to investigate them all. "Civilians, many of them children, are bearing the brunt of the spiralling violence," he said.

Speaking during the 21st session of the UN's Human Rights Council, Mr Pinheiro presented an updated version of his commission's report from last month, which said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and the opposition to a lesser extent, had committed war crimes during the 18-month crisis.