Syria: Secretary General Ban Reiterates Call for Authorities to Stop ‘Mounting Loss of Life’

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–16 February 2012.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called again on the Syrian Government to comply with international humanitarian law and put an end to the “mounting loss of life” the country has experienced over the past year.

United Nations human rights officials have previously estimated that Syrian security forces have killed well over 5,400 people since March last year, while thousands more are still missing. In addition, some 70,000 people are internally displaced and 25,000 have fled the country to avoid the violence.

“Every day those numbers rise. We see neighbourhoods shelled indiscriminately. Hospitals used as torture centres. Children as young as 10 years old jailed and abused,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Vienna, stressing that the lack of agreement in the Security Council does not give the Syrian Government a licence to continue to attack its own citizens. “The longer we debate, the more people will die.”

The General Assembly will meet later today to vote on a draft resolution backing Arab League efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and Mr. Ban stated he is considering all the necessary options once the Assembly takes a decision on the issue.

“I commend the continued efforts of the League of Arab States to stop the violence and to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis that meets the democratic and legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” Mr. Ban said.

Mr. Ban discussed the situation in Syria during bilateral meetings today with key international officials, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Austria’s Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.

The Secretary-General reiterated that stopping the violence and establishing humanitarian access remain the top priorities for the UN.