New York: The United Nations human rights chief today renewed her call on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, stressing the need to ensure accountability for the serious abuses committed by both sides in the ongoing conflict. “In my view, both Government forces and armed opponents have been involved in actions harming civilians,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters after a closed-door briefing to the Council.
Geneva: A top UN human rights investigator has been holding talks in Damascus with senior Syrian officials to pave the way for an investigation into atrocities in the country, U.N. and diplomatic sources said on Monday. It is the first time Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro has been granted permission to enter Syria since his team was set up in September by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Pretoria: Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has reiterated South Africa's condemnation of the killing of Syrian people and has once again called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Motlanthe said South Africa was of the view that all the parties should adhere to the United Nations-led 6-point plan of 5 April 2012, and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2043, which provides the opportunity for all Syrian parties to proceed with a Syrian-led national, peaceful dialogue towards a lasting political solution in Syria.
Johannesburg: The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town today called on the South African Government to increase its efforts to promote a solution to the violence in Syria. "As members both of the UN Security Council, and the BRICS partnership, we have particular opportunities - and therefore responsibilities - to work urgently for human rights to be upheld in Syria" said Dr Thabo Makgoba.
United Nations: As the United Nations Security Council takes on a packed schedule in June, Syria will be "one of the most pressing issues" on its agenda, Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, said Monday. "The Syrian issue now is at a very critical moment. The political process to solve the Syrian crisis is at a crossroads," Li told reporters as he assumed the rotating presidency of the council for this month.
Kofi Annan's United Nations-Arab League mission to broker peace in Syria has failed. It was also worth the attempt. Without the mission's 300 observers, we wouldn't know the scale and nature of the executions that took place last week in Houla and Deri al-Zour. But the UN effort has outlived its usefulness. At this point, it is giving diplomatic cover to Russia, the prime protector of the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, to block stronger international action.
South Africa supports the convening of this Special Session of the Human Rights Council to address this urgent matter. South Africa once again strongly condemns the killing of men, women and children in the Syrian village of El-Houleh. We wish to extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the families of the victims of the horrific tragedy and we extend our solidarity to all the people of Syria in these difficult times.
Doha: The Arab League (AL) called for a time limit on the UN mission to avoid further bloodshed. The AL Delegates at Saturday's special meeting condemned the massacre in Houla. They also called for an investigation into the killings. The meeting also called on Arab countries to recall their diplomats in Syria. Chaired by Qatar, the ministerial committee members also include Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
Johannesburg: The South African government has come under fire for its apparent failure to act against Syria for alleged human rights violations. "The death toll in Syria is approaching 10 000. The lives of innocent civilians are at stake. We cannot support a lukewarm diplomatic response from South Africa on this issue," Ian Davidson, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on international relations and cooperation said on Thursday.
Ankara: Turkey has asked Syria to withdraw all its diplomatic personnel from its embassy in Ankara within 72 hours, joining Western powers in a protest against the massacre of more than 100 civilians in Houla. Ankara also warned of "further measures" if Damascus fails to stop the bloodshed and open the way for a democratic transition.