In­ves­ti­ga­tors seek ac­cess to Syr­ian refugees

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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