Death toll from Syrian violence tops 2,900, UN human rights office says

Syrian protesters. Photo: IRIN/Martha Jean

6 October 2011 – The death toll from months of violent clashes between Syrian Government forces and pro-democracy protesters has now climbed to 2,900, the United Nations human rights office said today.

Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the total number has passed 2,900, “according to the list of individual names we have been compiling.” Previous estimates had placed the toll at about 2,700.

Senior UN officials have repeatedly voiced concern about the situation in Syria, where large-scale protests calling for greater freedoms have been held since March – part of the so-called Arab Spring movement that has affected much of North Africa and the Middle East this year.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that the violence and suffering in Syria is unacceptable and must end, and that the international community has a moral obligation to try to prevent further bloodshed.

The Human Rights Council has ordered a commission of inquiry into the violence after an earlier OHCHR fact-finding mission outlined a series of Government abuses ranging from murders, enforced disappearances, the deprivation of liberty and torture.

On Tuesday, the Security Council did not adopt a draft resolution that strongly condemned Syrian authorities for their crackdown after Russia and China exercised their vetoes.

Representatives of Russia and China said the draft text as it stood would exacerbate tensions rather than lead to a resolution of the crisis.

A spokesperson for Mr. Ban said yesterday that the Secretary-General regretted that Council members have not been able to agree and hoped they would overcome their divisions and find a collective way to address the situation.


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