War 'made Syria a torture chamber'
GENEVA • The UN human rights chief has warned that a "tidal wave of bloodshed" over more than six years of war in Syria effectively turned the country into a "torture chamber".
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that it is the worst man-made disaster since World War II.
He told the UN Human Rights Council yesterday that his office had been refused access to Syria and that no international human rights observers had been admitted to places where tens of thousands are held and tortured.
Colombia to set up war crimes courts
BOGOTA • Colombia's senate has approved a constitutional reform that creates special war crimes courts, a key component of the historic peace agreement reached with guerrillas that last November ended five decades of warfare.
The court system will be made up of three sections: a truth commission, a unit to search for missing people, and a temporary, autonomous body to try crimes committed during the armed conflict before Dec 1 last year.
Politician punished over remarks
STRASBOURG (France) • The European Parliament sanctioned a Polish extreme-right Member of European Parliament (MEP) yesterday after he said women should be paid less because they are weaker and less intelligent than men. Mr Janusz Korwin-Mikke, 74, received an "unprecedented" penalty, including the forfeit of his daily MEP allowance for 30 days, totalling €9,210 (S$13,850).
He has previously been punished by the European Union assembly for racist comments about black Americans, calling refugees "human garbage" and for saying Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was "not aware of the extermination of the Jews".