UN: Syrian authorities torturing children (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Roi Kais Published: 03.28.12, 16:33)
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Top human rights official Pillay tells BBC Assad will eventually
stand trial for abuses committed by his security forces
Syrian security forces are detaining and torturing children, the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in
an interview with the BBC, published Wednesday.
"They´ve gone for the children - for whatever purposes - in large
numbers. Hundreds detained and tortured... it´s just horrendous," she
"Children shot in the knees, held together with adults in really
inhumane conditions, denied medical treatment for their injuries,
either held as hostages or as sources of information."
In the interview, the UN official said President Bashar Assad could
end the detentions and stop the killing of civilians immediately,
simply by issuing an order.
According to her, Assad will eventually stand trial for the abuses
committed by security forces loyal to his regime. "There is no
statute of limitations so people like (Assad) can go on for a very
long time but one day they will have to face justice," she told the
Pillay said she believed that the UN Security Council had enough
reliable information to warrant referring Syria to the International
Criminal Court (ICC).
"I feel that investigation and prosecution is a crucial element to
deter and call a stop to these violations," she said in the interview.
The UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed since the
uprising against President Assad began a year ago.
On Tuesday Syria accepted the six-point peace plan proposed by former
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who currently serves as the head of
a UN delegation to Syria.
Later on Tuesday, several Syrian dissident groups meeting in Istanbul
agreed to recognize the Syrian National Council as the official
representative of the Syrian people.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that Syrian
forces stormed a rebel bastion despite Assad´s reported acceptance of
Kofi Annan´s peace plan and an opposition plea that tanks be
The assault came as China urged Syria´s government and opposition to
honor commitments to halt armed conflict and Arab foreign ministers
were thrashing out a resolution on Syria to be debated at a landmark
Arab League summit in Baghdad.
According to the monitors, Syrian forces backed by tanks swept into
the central town of Qalaat al-Madiq and nearby villages early
Wednesday after a siege lasting more than two weeks.
The Britain-based monitoring group said the troops entered the town,
in Hama province, just after dawn following a 17-day barrage of
shelling and heavy gunfire to root out rebels.
It added however that the army was not in full control of the town.
"Heavy clashes between regime forces and armed rebels are preventing
the army from advancing," the Observatory said. "Intense gunfire and
explosions can be heard in nearby villages."
Syrian news website Damas Post, which is affiliated with the regime
in Damascus, reported this week that Assad would soon announce an end
to military operations across the country.
Assad visited a defeated rebel stronghold in the city of Homs on
Tuesday, talking to groups of supporters as he toured streets
devastated by months of shelling and gunfire.
Syrian state television showed video of Assad, wearing an open-necked
shirt with a blue suit, walking casually in the Baba Amr district,
which was reclaimed by his forces earlier this month after 26 days of
"Life will return to normal in Baba Amr, better than it was before,"
Assad told a group of people shouting support for the president.
According to some reports, during the visit shots were fired at
Assad´s entourage. Opposition activists told the London-based
newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that the free Syrian Army´s Farouk Brigade,
which held Baba Amr and other neighborhoods before being forces to
withdraw, was behind the failed assassination attempt. AFP, Reuters
contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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