World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Compassion Does Not Suffice to End Bloodshed in Syria

‘Compassion Does Not Suffice’ UN Rights Panel Says, Urging Immediate End to Bloodshed in Syria

New York, Mar 18 2014 - As the Syrian war enters a fourth year, the harrowing violence shows no signs of subsiding – the fighting has driven some nine million civilians from their homes and has reduced many of those who remain to scavenging – said the head of a United Nations-appointed human rights panel, denouncing the international community’s inaction in the pursuit of peace and accountability.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic – appointed by the UN Human Rights Council – presented earlier today in Geneva a detailed report on the living conditions of men and women in the region and outlined a list of individuals – on all sides - believed to be responsible for crimes against humanity.

“The lives of over one hundred thousand people have been extinguished. Those freed from detention now live with the physical and mental scars of torture. The fate and whereabouts of thousands more remain unknown,” regretted Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission.

According to the report, nearly nine million people – a third of the population – have fled their homes. In addition to the 2.5 million refugees, there are an estimated 6.5 million internally displaced people inside Syria, and millions more living in enclaves surrounded by violence.

“This is the tragic reality of the Syrian war,” stated Mr. Pinheiro in his presentation, adding that “no one can claim ignorance of what is going on.”

Drawing attention to the starvation endured by civilians, the repeated acts of terrorism they face every day, and ever growing complexity of the battlefield layers, the Panel deplored the lack of action by the international community: “Compassion does not and should not suffice,” insisted Mr. Pinheiro adding that “we cannot continue to sit for years in these rooms, writing reports and making speeches lamenting the blood that is running in Syria’s streets.”

In February, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2139 which highlighted the need to end impunity for violations of international law and reaffirmed “that those who have committed or are otherwise responsible for such violations and abuses in Syria must be brought to justice.”

In the course of its research, the Commission established a list of individuals and entities, such as military units and armed groups, as well as the names of those responsible for violations and crimes documented throughout its reports, from hostage-taking and terrorism to torture and executions. This so-called “perpetrator’s’ list” also contains names of military commanders who target civilians, airports from which barrel bomb attacks are planned and executed, and armed groups involved in attacking and disciplining civilians.

“We have an enormous volume of testimony – over 2700 interviews as well as a wealth of documentary materials,” said Mr. Pinheiro. “We do not lack information on crimes or on perpetrators. What we lack is a means by which to achieve justice and accountability,” he insisted, calling on the Security Council to “make this pursuit of justice possible” and to resume the negotiation of a political solution “with renewed vigour.”

“The warring parties and the regional and international actors must assume their mantles of responsibility and bring this war, and its horrors, to an end,” said Mr. Pinheiro, underscoring that the volumes of testimony will be the Commission’s enduring legacy: an archive of Syrian voices and a resource for future prosecutions.

For more details go to UN News Centre at


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news