News24

Syrian civilians in desperate situation

2012-03-12 20:44

Geneva - Syrian civilians face a "desperate situation," UN human rights investigator Paulo Pinheiro said on Monday, calling for urgent action.

"The exodus continues to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The desperate situation of civilians needs to be addressed as a matter of utmost urgency," the Brazilian commissioner told the UN Human Rights Council.

"The intensification of armed confrontations has widened the trail of suffering," said Pinheiro, head of the Council's Commission of Inquiry, which was not allowed to enter Syria.

"The human rights and humanitarian situation becomes bleaker day after day in neighborhoods in Homs, Idlib, Hama, rural Damascus and Dar'a," he said, decrying a month of "unrelenting shelling" in Homs' Baba Amr district.

"Those who fled the area reported summary executions and mass arbitrary arrest campaigns," Pinheiro said, adding that more than 500 children have been killed since the start of Syria's unrest a year ago.

Commissioned last August by the Human Rights Council, the UN panel concluded in a first report published in November that Syrian security forces committed crimes against humanity during the brutal repression of demonstrators.