Global shame: 60,000 more and dead in Syrian uprising
World community refuses to act, fearing to be drawn into prolonged war
figures are numbing. The entire population of Terre Haute, Indiana or
Cheyenne, Wyoming the number of people that could fit inside Dodger
Stadium, more than the 50,000-plus U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam. The
official estimate of people who have died in the Syrian uprising is now
set t 60,000 - with only more on the way in the coming New Year.
The vast majority of people that have been killed in Syria have been male, meaning that when and if the uprising ends, there will be a definite problem in rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay blames the international community its failure to act. "Collectively we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns," she said. "While many details remain unclear, there can be no justification for the massive scale of the killing highlighted by this analysis."
While both Western and Arab nations have strongly denounced President Bashar al-Assad's regime, they have been hesitant to intervene in hopes of ending the warfare.
Opposition to sanctions against the regime has come from Russia and China, both of which have long had friendly relations with and economic ties to Damascus. The larger world community has avoided being drawn into a war, similar to the Vietnam War for the U.S. or the invasion of Afghanistan for the Russians.
"I fear thousands more will die or suffer terrible injuries as a result of those who harbor the obstinate belief that something can be achieved by more bloodshed, more torture and more mindless destruction," Pillay said.
"This massive loss of life could have been avoided if the Syrian government had chosen to take a different path than one of ruthless suppression of what were initially peaceful and legitimate protests by unarmed civilians," she said.
"As the situation has continued to degenerate, increasing numbers have also been killed by anti-government armed groups, and there has been a proliferation of serious crimes including war crimes, and -- most probably -- crimes against humanity, by both sides."
The new figure of 60,000 dead she says "is likely to be an underestimate of the actual number of deaths . The number I think is far greater than this, and lots of people are missing.
"The recording and collection of accurate and reliable data has grown increasingly challenging due to the conflict raging in many parts of the country," Pillay said.
The greatest number of reported killings have occurred in Homs (12,560), rural Damascus (10,862) and Idlib (7,686), followed by Aleppo (6,188), Daraa (6,034) and Hama (5,080), the analysis found.
"This massive loss of life could have been avoided if the Syrian government had chosen to take a different path than one of ruthless suppression of what were initially peaceful and legitimate protests by unarmed civilians," Pillay said.
Rupert Colville, a U.N. spokesman, agrees that the number "is probably a minimum.
"There's not a shadow of doubt now that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed. That said, in each individual case, the final judgment has to be made by a court. It's hard to quantify at this point," he said.
"This is a classic case of a conflict that's spiraling downwards, becoming ever more ghastly. We've seen this before in the Balkans and other places. The worse it becomes, the more difficult it is to resolve."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, death toll, world community Navi Pillay, United Nations
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