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UN Human Rights Council Plans Special Session on Syria on Dec. 2

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Syria after a UN panel reported that the country’s military and security forces had committed crimes against humanity.

The Dec. 2 session in Geneva stems from an official request signed by 68 governments that was submitted today by Poland on the European Union’s behalf, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. Signatories include Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Turkey.

The council’s independent International Commission of Inquiry into Syria said on Nov. 28 that it was “gravely concerned that crimes against humanity have been committed in different locations” in Syria since pro-democracy unrest began in mid-March. The panel said it documented patterns of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture including sexual violence and violations of children’s rights.

The rights council will consider a draft resolution asking UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take “the necessary measures according to the UN Charter” to support the Arab League’s efforts to end the violence in Syria. The league slapped sanctions on Syria on Nov. 27 for refusing to sign a protocol allowing a delegation of monitors into the country.

The resolution also calls for the Commission of Inquiry’s report to be forwarded to Ban for “appropriate action and transmission to all UN relevant bodies.”

At least 3,500 people have been killed since demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s government began, according to the UN. Assad faces growing economic and political pressure to end the crackdown against protesters who were inspired by popular movements that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer M. Freedman in Geneva at jfreedman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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