UN rights chief reports Syria death toll at 2,600

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Monday said that at least 2,600 people have been killed in Syria in the crackdown on anti-government protesters in the country. During her address to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website], Pillay said "that, according to reliable sources on the ground, the number of those killed since the onset of the unrest in mid-March 2011 in [Syria], has now reached at least 2,600." This figure represents a marked increase in the number of casualties as calculated by the UN. In August, Pillay told the HRC that the death toll stood at 2,200 [press release]. Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], refuted the number [Reuters report], saying a total of 1,400 had been killed since mid-March. Shaaban said the numbers were split evenly, with 700 opposition protesters and 700 government forces killed as a result of the unrest. She also stated that Syria could produce a list of the names of the victims.

Last month, Pillay called on the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] to investigate the violent suppression of anti-government protests [JURIST report]. Pillay's remarks came after the Fact-finding Mission in Syria published its 22-page report concluding that Syrian government forces cracking down on the opposition may be committing crimes against humanity [JURIST report]. The Fact-finding Mission was established [JURIST report] by the HRC in April but was not permitted to enter the country. Also last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that an unknown Western country is funding an investigation [JURIST report] into Syria's recent human rights abuses. In July, two UN rights officials expressed concern over reports of violence [JURIST report] used by Syrian authorities against the country's own people.

1:30 PM ET ~ The UNHRC has named a three-person panel of international experts to investigate allegations of human rights violations including possible crimes against humanity in Syria.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.