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UNHRC condemns 'gross' violations in Syria
By REUTERS
02/12/2011
UN rights council adopts resolution put forward by EU with 37 states in favor, 4 against including Russia, China.
 
GENEVA - The United Nations top human rights forum strongly condemned Syria on Friday for "gross and systematic" violations by its forces, including executions, that it said may amount to crimes against humanity.

The 47-member forum adopted a resolution put forward by the European Union (EU) by a vote of 37 states in favour, four against including China and Russia, with six abstentions. The text called for the "main bodies" of the United Nations to consider a UN report which found that crimes of humanity had been committed and "take appropriate action."

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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay earlier on Friday called on the international community to take action to protect the civilian population in Syria from "ruthless repression" as the country slides into civil war.

More than 4,000 people have been killed, including 307 children, in the military crackdown since March and more than 14,000 people are believed to be held in detention, she told an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council.

"The Syrian authorities' continual ruthless repression, if not stopped now, can drive the country into a full-fledged civil war. In light of the manifest failure of the Syrian authorities to protect their citizens, the international community needs to take urgent and effective measures to protect the Syrian people," Pillay said.

Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge, said that "the need for international accountability has even greater urgency today."

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Turkey, Syria's biggest trade partner, suspended all financial credit dealings with Damascus and froze its assets, joining the Arab League in isolating Assad over his military crackdown. The United States urged other countries to follow suit.

The world's largest Muslim body, the Organization of Islamic Conference, urged Syria on Wednesday to "immediately stop the use of excessive force" against its citizens so as to avert any prospect of foreign intervention.
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