30thMay 2012, Geneva; The Maldives today joined a request by twenty-one member States of the UN Human Rights Council for the body to convene an emergency debate on the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and the recent massacre in the El-Houleh area of Homs.
The UN has so far directly verified the deaths of at least 90 people, including 34 children under the age of 10, while other unconfirmed reports suggest the death toll may well be much higher. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, has said the atrocities may amount to crimes against humanity or other forms of international crime or violations of international law.
The Maldives has joined other nations around the world in condemning the killings and calling for accountability.
The Human Rights Council Special Session on the massacre, which will take place this coming Friday, will hear reports on the killings from relevant UN representatives, and will also debate how the international community should respond to what increasingly appears to be a case of mass summary execution and arbitrary killing.
The Council has held a number of urgent debates on the situation in Syria over the past year, and has twice dispatched an international commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity.
Speaking ahead of the Special Session, the Foreign Minister, H.E. Dr. Abdul Samad Abdulla, said: "The Maldives, like other nations around the world, is appalled by the tragic loss of life in El-Houleh and is shocked at the barbarity involved in the killings. The UN estimates the death-toll in Syria to now be around 12,000. The Maldives joins others in calling for an immediate halt to the violence and for those guilty of gross and systematic human rights violations to be held to account. We will be making these points during Friday's debate".