Investigators seek access to Syrian refugees
UN war crimes investigators asked European countries to “remove barriers” to their work by giving them unhindered access to newly arrived Syrian refugees.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which has been investigating human rights violations and war crimes in the country for the past five years, warned that the shift in refugee flows toward Europe had complicated its job.
“It has become more difficult to access victims and witnesses with fresh information,” commission chief Paulo Sergio Pinheiro told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 19.
“We are appealing to countries inside Europe hosting newly arrived Syrian refugees to grant us access and remove any barriers to our work,” he said.
Mr Pinheiro refused to specify which European nations he was referring to, telling reporters only that the commission had been in contact with several countries.
The investigators have never gained access to Syria itself, instead relying on nearly 4600 interviews in the region and from Geneva, as well as pictures, medical records and other documents for its findings.
Mr Pinheiro stressed the importance of accessing new arrivals from Syria, who could help the commission document new phases in the drawnout conflict that has cost more than 300,000 lives. –