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World community failed Syria, Pillay says

Feb. 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council has failed with regard to Syria despite reports of systematic violations of international laws, the U.N. human rights leader said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, addressing the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, welcomed international efforts to address crimes committed in Darfur and Libya.

"But the Security Council has so far failed with regard to Syria, despite the repeated reports of widespread or systematic crimes and violations by my office," she said.

Pillay said Feb. 12 that the death toll in Syria was moving closer to 70,000 since conflict began.

In January, Pillay said it was difficult to obtain a comprehensive assessment on what may amount to war crimes in Syria given the severity of the violence. She said the number of deaths in Syria could have been avoided had the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad chose "a different path."

Security Council member Russia has objected to resolutions drafted against Syria, saying they lack balance. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday during a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem that Moscow opposed to calls for regime change in Damascus.

"Russia's position is not predetermined by support of personalities; it is dictated by concern about the fate of the Syrian people, our long-standing friend and partner, and the fate of a country which has a very long history," he was quoted by state-owned news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

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