New York - Agencies
Wednesday, 08 February 2012
The UN's human rights chief Navi Pillay released a statement severly condemning the failure of the international community to stop the daily bloodshed in Syria.
She urged the international community "to cut through the politics and take effective action to protect the Syrian population". She also reminded world leaders of the responsibility to protect civilians from crimes against humanity.
Pillay, who did not hold back, said: "I am appalled by the Syrian Government's wilful assault on Homs, and its use of artillery and other heavy weaponry in what appear to be indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas in the city. The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have fueled the Syrian Government's readiness to massacre its own people in an effort to crush dissent.
In the past eleven months, since the start of the brutal Government crackdown on largely peaceful protests in Syria, thousands of Syrian protestors and civilians have been killed, injured, detained, tortured and forcibly disappeared. All evidence points to the involvement of the Syrian army and security forces in the perpetration of most of these crimes. In light of their nature and scale, they may constitute crimes against humanity, punishable under international law. Those in command should, however, remember that there is no statute of limitations for serious international crimes, and there will be a sustained effort for as long as it takes to bring justice to all those who have been victims of the gross and systematic crimes taking place in Syria today.
At their 2005 Summit, World leaders unanimously agreed that each individual State has the responsibility to protect its population from crimes against humanity and other international crimes. They also agreed that when a State is manifestly failing to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community as a whole has the responsibility to step in by taking protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner. The virtual carte blanche now granted to the Syrian Government betrays the spirit and the word."