Earlier today the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights made a report to the General Assembly regarding the situation in Syria. Below is a small bit from the start of the report. Please access the link for her full comments.
The violent Government crackdown on peaceful protests demanding freedom, dignity and social justice in Syria has continued unabated for eleven months now. While no exact figures can be provided due to our lack of access to the country, credible reports indicate that Syrian security forces killed well above 5,400 people last year, including civilians as well as military personnel who refused to shoot civilians.
Due to extreme difficulties in substantiating the events on the ground, it has become almost impossible for my Office to update the death toll in the past two months. However, we are certain that the number of dead and injured continues to rise every day. Tens of thousands, including children, have been arrested, with more than 18,000 reportedly still arbitrarily held in detention. Thousands more are reported missing. 25,000 people are estimated to have sought refuge in neighbouring and other countries. And more than 70,000 are estimated to have been internally displaced.
While the protests have remained largely peaceful, reports of armed attacks by anti-government fighters against Syrian forces have increased, also with consequences on civilians. According to the Government, some 2000 military and security personnel have been killed.
I am particularly appalled by the ongoing onslaught on Homs. Since 3 February, in further escalation of its assault, the Government has used tanks, mortars, rockets and artillery to pummel the city of Homs. According to credible accounts, the Syrian army has shelled densely populated neighborhoods of Homs in what appears to be an indiscriminate attack on civilian areas. More than 300 people have reportedly been killed in the city since the start of this assault ten days ago. The majority of them were victims of the shelling.
Even as Syrian artillery continued to fire into residential areas of Homs and other cities, there was a noticeable lack of enthusiasm for the Arab League’s proposal to deploy UN peacekeepers. Initial reactions by the United States, United Kingdom and Russia all noted that “peacekeepers” require peace as a precondition.