UN report: Syria conflict threatens whole region

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria on June 17 warned the UN Human Rights Council that the continuing civil war in Syria has "reached a tipping point, threatening the entire region." The Commission was established by the UN Human Rights Council in August 2011 to investigate and record all violations of international human rights law during the Syria conflict. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chair of the Commission, condemned the international response to the conflict in Syria, stating:

We have traveled historic distances in pursuit of justice in the former Yugoslavia, in Sierra Leone and in Rwanda, to name a few. But the international community has stumbled and fallen when it has come to seeking justice for, and in our protection of the Syrian people.

Pinheiro implored the Council to help work towards a negotiated political settlement at the same time criticizing what he has seen as an abandonment of a "political solution" in favor of support through "weapons and financial support." The chair painted a grim picture of the current situation in Syria citing the government's use of barrel bombs, "widespread and systematic" torture and humanitarian denial of aid to civilians by government and rebel forces. A representative of the Syrian government, speaking as the concerned country, dismissed the report stating it "was based on alleged statements by justice evaders and even terrorists." The Commission has collected over 3,000 interviews indicating a massive number of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.

From Jurist, June 18. Used with permission.