U.N. Investigating Syrian Violence

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 23 (UPI) — The top U.N. rights agency said Tuesday it has decided to send officials to Syria to investigate alleged abuses during crackdowns on protesters.

The investigation will look at all the alleged violations of international human rights law, and identify people responsible to ensure that those who committed the violations are held accountable, a U.N. release said.

A U.N. humanitarian team is already in Syria to assess such needs as food and medicine among the civilian population.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based Human Rights Council, which decided on the investigation, also called for an end to all violence in Syria.

The council, at the end of a two-day special session, adopted a resolution strongly condemning alleged “grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities,” the U.N. release said.

The council, by a vote to 33 to 4 with nine abstentions, accepted the fact-finding report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay presented.

The council also “expressed profound concern about its findings,” the release said.

The report covered incidents March 15 to July 15, and detailed government abuses “ranging from murder, enforced disappearances, deprivation of liberty and the torture even of children to an apparent shoot-to-kill policy against protesters with snipers posted on rooftops.”

Up to 2,000 Syrians have been killed in the five months since the start of the pro-democracy protests.

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