UNITED NATIONS - The death toll in Syria is likely approaching 70,000 with civilians paying the price for the UN Security Council's lack of action to end the nearly 2-year-old conflict, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, repeated her call for Syria to be referred by the 15-member council to the International Criminal Court to send a message to both parties in the conflict that there would be consequences for their actions.
Pillay told a council debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict that the death toll in Syria was "probably now approaching 70,000."
On Jan. 2 Pillay said more than 60,000 people had been killed during the revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.
"The lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous and civilians on all sides have paid the price," she said. "We will be judged against the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes."