London backs war crimes assessment of Syria

Dec. 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday his government fully supports a U.N. assessment implicating Syrian officials in war crimes.

Hague said he supported an assessment made Monday by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad may be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"She has pointed to evidence that senior members of Assad's regime, up to and including Assad himself, bear primary responsibility for the appalling human rights situation," Hague said in a statement Tuesday. "The U.K. will continue to press for action on human rights violations in Syria, and accountability for those who perpetrate them."

Pillay said in a report on human rights progress the "scale and viciousness of the abuses" in Syria "almost defies belief."

The United Nations said in a report Friday more than 1 million Syrian children have become refugees as a result of civil war. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday more than 6,627 children have been killed in Syria since an uprising against the Assad government began in March 2011.

The Syrian rights group, which has headquarters in London, called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to "work through all possible means" to put an end to the fighting in Syria.

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