Last updated: 2 August, 2011

UN rights chief warns Syrian regime ‘world is watching’

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay warned Syrian authorities that the “world is watching” their deadly crackdown against protesters and that attempts at imposing a news blackout were not working.

“The government has been trying to keep the world blind about the alarming situation in the country by refusing access to foreign journalists, independent human rights groups and to the fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council,” said Pillay.

“But they are not succeeding,” added Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

“The world is watching and the international community is gravely concerned,” warned Pillay, adding that she stands in solidarity with protesters and families of victims of the crackdown.

She reiterated that the government must halt the violence immediately and that an international and independent probe must be launched to investigate the deadly crackdown.

The UN Security Council was to hold a second day of talks on Syria on Tuesday after President Bashar al-Assad’s tanks launched one of the regime’s deadliest assaults on demonstrators on Sunday.

Some 140 were reported killed in that crackdown, the deadliest since pro-democracy protestors first took to the streets on March 15, the UN said.