Sep 10, 2012 / 7:10 am
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world's foremost human rights body on Monday to keep up the pressure on major powers to end the civil war and rights abuses in Syria.
At the opening of the U.N. Human Rights Council's monthlong session, Ban told diplomats that he was "deeply troubled by the aerial bombardments of civilians by government forces; by the increasing sectarian tensions; by the deteriorating humanitarian situation; and by the apparent choice of both sides to pursue a solution through force rather than dialogue."
The U.N. chief called on all nations, including the 47 that are members of the Geneva-based council, to unite behind the efforts of his special envoy to Syria, but also to "maintain its vigilance on Syria, including on the question of accountability" for suspected abuses.
Syria's U.N. ambassador, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, after listening to the speeches from Ban and the U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, told reporters that he was pleased that they had mentioned suspected human rights abuses on both sides, not just the Syrian government.
Ban told the council that it should apply pressure of its own to the situation, independent of the more powerful New York-based Security Council that can impose financial sanctions and authorize peacekeeping missions and even military action.
"I commend the council for acting quickly in response to the crisis in Syria," Ban told the Human Rights Council, referring to special sessions in Geneva that condemned the violence, set up independent probes and recommended strong action to end the Syrian hostilities that have escalated since March 2011.
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