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International pressure on Syria mounts

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 01:38

Mar 7 - UN torture investigator calls for Syria to be referred to the ICC as humanitarian chief visits Syrian foreign minister in Damascus and Turkish president says he has no trust in Syrian administration. Nick Rowlands reports.

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The UN special rapporteur on torture says there is compelling evidence that torture is taking place in Syrian medical facilities and detention centres. Juan Mendez, speaking in Geneva, urged the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON TORTURE JUAN MENDEZ SAYING: "There's been a pattern of torture and of other crimes amounting to crimes against humanity, and at least in principle there is ample justification for the International Criminal Court to have jurisdiction." The UN's humanitarian chief Valerie Amos - who was last week refused entry to Syria - today held talks in Damascus with the Syrian foreign minister. She's on a three-day mission to try to persuade authorities to grant unhindered access for aid workers to deliver life-saving assistance to civilians caught in conflict areas such as the embattled Baba Amr area of Homs. The Red Cross is currently the only international agency allowed to deploy aid workers in Syria, but even they are barred access to Baba Amr. Speaking from Ankara, President Abdullah Gul said Turkey had lost all confidence in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. He called the called the situation "a problem for the whole of humanity". Turkey has abandoned its long-time ally Assad over his violent crackdown on protests. President Gul said Assad must respond positively to proposals for him to step down peacefully, before it is too late. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.

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International pressure on Syria mounts

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 01:38