U.N. Official: Syria Death Toll Nears 70,000 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

U.N. Official: Syria Death Toll Nears 70,000

Posted: Updated:

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The death toll in Syria is likely approaching 70,000 with civilians paying the price for the U.N. Security Council's lack of action to end the nearly 2-year-old conflict, the U.N. human rights chief said on Tuesday.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, repeated her call for Syria to be referred by the 15-member council to the International Criminal Court to send a message to both parties in the conflict that there would be consequences for their actions.

Pillay told a council debate on protection of civilians in armed conflict that the death toll in Syria was "probably now approaching 70,000."

On January 2 Pillay said more than 60,000 people had been killed during the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which began with peaceful protests but turned violent after Assad's forces tried to crush the demonstrations.

"The lack of consensus on Syria and the resulting inaction has been disastrous and civilians on all sides have paid the price," she said. "We will be judged against the tragedy that has unfolded before our eyes."

World powers are divided on how to stop the escalating violence in Syria and the Security Council is unlikely to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is not an official U.N. body.

Permanent Security Council members Russia and China have acted as Syria's protector on the council by repeatedly blocking Western efforts to take stronger U.N. action - such as sanctions - against the Syrian government to try to end the war.

Both sides to the Syria conflict have been accused of committing atrocities but the United Nations says the government and its allies have been more culpable.

"Syria is self-destructing," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday evening. "After nearly two years, we no longer count days in hours, but in bodies. Another day, another 100, 200, 300 dead."

"Fighting rages. Sectarian hatred is on the rise. The catalogue of war crimes is mounting," he said. "The Security Council must no longer stand on the sidelines, dead-locked, silently witnessing the slaughter."

More than 50 countries asked the U.N. Security Council last month to refer the Syria crisis to the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes genocide and war crimes cases.

Syria is not a party to the Rome Statute, which set up the International Criminal Court, so the only way the court can investigate the situation is if it receives a referral from the Security Council. The council has previously referred conflicts in Libya and Darfur, Sudan to the court.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    Friday, September 22 2017 8:54 PM EDT2017-09-23 00:54:14 GMT
    @PepcoConnect twitter@PepcoConnect twitter

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    More >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    More >>
  • Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:57 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:57:52 GMT

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    More >>

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    More >>
  • Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Friday, September 22 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-22 22:28:02 GMT

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    More >>

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Saturday, September 23 2017 9:44 PM EDT2017-09-24 01:44:28 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    More >>
  • Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Saturday, September 23 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-09-23 23:56:12 GMT

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    More >>

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    More >>
  • Damage in Puerto Rico strains relief efforts by agencies

    Damage in Puerto Rico strains relief efforts by agencies

    Saturday, September 23 2017 7:06 PM EDT2017-09-23 23:06:01 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agencies are grappling with the vast scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico left by Hurricane Maria, the third major storm to strike the U.S. in less than a month. Three days after the massive hurricane crossed the U.S. territory, towns in Puerto Rico remain without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.

    More >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agencies are grappling with the vast scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico left by Hurricane Maria, the third major storm to strike the U.S. in less than a month. Three days after the massive hurricane crossed the U.S. territory, towns in Puerto Rico remain without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.

    More >>