UN Human Rights Council to Hold Special Session on Situation in Syria

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–27 April 2011 – The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday on the situation in Syria amid mounting concern over the recent killing or wounding of hundreds of peaceful protesters in the Middle East country.

The United States requested the special session, which will take place in Geneva, on behalf of 16 Member States, according to a press release issued by the 47-member Council.

This afternoon B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, is expected to brief the Security Council in a closed-door session on the latest developments in Syria, where security forces have used tanks and live fire against demonstrators in recent days.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who briefed Security Council members yesterday, has condemned the violence against the protesters and called for an “independent, transparent and effective” investigation into the killings.

Mr. Ban told journalists that “it goes without saying that Syrian authorities have an obligation to protect civilians and respect international human rights. That includes the right to free expression and peaceful assembly.”

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it had received reports that more than 100 people were killed just between last Friday and Sunday, with numerous others injured or detained.

The protests in Syria are part of a broader uprising this year across the Middle East and North Africa that has already brought down long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to conflict in Libya.