A UN commission urged [statement] Syrian authorities on Friday to allow human rights experts to conduct an investigation into allegations of human rights violations. The three-member commission of inquiry was established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] in September after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] reported [JURIST report] that at least 2,600 people were killed in the country as a result of its crackdown on anti-government protesters. Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro [UNICEF profile], who is heading the commission, stated that the commission wants to start its investigation as soon as possible. Pinheiro said that the investigation is in the best interest of the UN as well as Syrian authorities and expressed hope that permission would be granted before universal periodic review [JURIST news archive] exercises begin at the end of this week.
In August, 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.