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Syria: Experts to Review Syrian Human Rights Abuses

(Sept. 15, 2011) On September 12, 2011, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations appointed three specialists to look into allegations of recent human rights abuses in Syria. Since the crackdown against anti-government protesters began this spring, it is estimated that 2,600 people have been killed. The three experts will look into specific allegations of crimes against humanity and attempt to identify the persons responsible. They will report to the Council by the end of November of this year. (UN Human Rights Council Appoints Experts to Probe Syrian Violence, UN NEWS CENTRE (Sept. 12, 2011).)

The appointment of the panel follows the submission of a report by a fact-finding mission, sent by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, that listed government abuses including murder, forced disappearances, deprivation of liberty, and torture. The report further alleged that some of the victims of torture were children. The three specialists are Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil, a human rights expert for the Council; Yakin Erturk of Turkey, a professor of sociology and former U.N. official concerned with women's issues; and Karen AbuZayd of the United States, the former head of the U.N. agency providing assistance to Palestinian refugees. (Id.)

The international human rights group Amnesty International has also expressed concern about the situation in Syria, pointing not only to the killings but to other human rights abuses as well. They have highlighted cases of individuals held incommunicado and expressed concern that those individuals are at risk of being tortured. (Syrian Activists Held Incommunicado at Risk, Amnesty International website (Sept. 8, 2011).)