Pinheiro, president of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, is tasked with investigating the situation there
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro at the presentation of a report on city security and human rights on November 2010 in Guatemala. Pinheiro, the UN expert tasked with investigating human rights abuses in Syria, has finally managed to enter the country, the UN said on Tuesday. © Johan Ordonez - AFP/File
Pinheiro, president of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, is tasked with investigating the situation there
AFP
Last updated: June 26, 2012

UN's Syria human rights investigator enters country

The UN expert tasked with investigating human rights abuses in Syria has finally managed to enter the country, the UN said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Geneva, UN spokeswoman Corinne Momal-Vanian confirmed that Paolo Sergio Pinheiro had visited Syria, confirming recent media reports.

No further details about Pinheiro's visit were available, she said.

"Questions must be addressed to him tomorrow. Only he can reply to questions about his trip," said Momal-Vanian.

Pinheiro, as president of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, was tasked last August by the UN Human Rights Council with investigating the situation there despite opposition from Russia and China.

Since then the commission said gross violations "continue unabated" despite the government and opposition agreeing to a peace plan implemented on April 12.

The Brazilian investigator is to give an update on his findings to 47 members of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, including details on the Houla massacre.

Most of the serious abuses the commission documented were committed by the Syrian army and security services during military or search operations in locations known for hosting defectors or people thought to support anti-government groups, the panel said in its latest update.

The group, which carried out 214 interviews since March but until now has not been granted access to Syria, said "a clear pattern" had emerged of government blockades of villages and neighbourhoods to "weed out" wanted people and their families.

"Children have died due to a lack of adequate health care during government blockades," said the commission.

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