U.N. human rights body condemns Syria forces for Houla killings
The United Nations’ top human rights body Friday condemned Syria for the massacre of more than 100 people in the township of Houla, laying the blame with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said the attacks could amount to crimes against humanity.
The killings of scores of women, children and other civilians last week in Houla have outraged world leaders and human rights groups.
The resolution Friday passed with the backing of 41 out of the 47 nations in the Human Rights Council. China, Cuba and Russia opposed it.
While China and Russia can veto resolutions at the U.N. Security Council, they do not have the same power in the human rights body. The Human Rights Council, however, does not have the powers the Security Council has to approve military action, sanctions, peacekeeping measures or other actions. The Security Council approved a statement Sunday condemning the attacks but not specifically laying blame.
The human rights council also called for an independent investigation to identify the individuals who carried out the killings and gather evidence to possibly bring them to justice in the future. Their push for an independent inquiry came after Syria announced initial findings that opposition forces were responsible for the killings.
The resolution came the same day that opposition activists alleged a new massacre of 12 factory workers had been carried out near the town of Qusayr. The newly reported killings are the third massacre reported from Syria in the last week. Besides the Houla and Qusayr incidents, authorities on Wednesday said the bodies of 13 men were found bound and shot near the eastern city of Dair Alzour.
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: Laura Dupuy Lasserre of Uruguay, President of the Human Rights Council, opens the special session of the 19th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Friday. Credit: Salvatore Di Nolfi / European Pressphoto Agency