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Outgoing UN chief criticizes Security Council over Syria

The UN's human rights chief, Navi Pillay, rebuked the UN Security Council for failing to prevent conflicts around the world, in a briefing at the organization's headquarters Thursday.
"I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this Council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives," said Pillay, in her final address as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
"Although the specifics of each crisis could not necessarily be predicted, many of the human rights violations that were at their core were known. They could have been addressed," she said.
She said millions of people depend on the UN to act decisively but that it is stifled by short-term geopolitical concerns and narrow national interests. The South African lawyer pointed out that ongoing conflicts are evidence of the costs of international inaction.
"They combine massive bloodshed and devastation of infrastructure with acutely destabilising transnational phenomena, including terrorism, the proliferation of prohibited weapons, organised crime, and spoliation of natural resources," she said.
"The killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis," Pillay said in a news release Friday.
Emphasizing that the war crimes and crimes against humanity are continuing to be committed in Syria in its full spate, Pillay said: "... yet the Security Council has failed to refer the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court, where it clearly belongs." Syria has been gripped by constant fighting since the regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict which has spiraled into a civil war. According to a UN report released Friday, at least 191,368 people have been killed in Syria during the civil war which started with peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad regime in March 2011.

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