U.N. urges action in Syria, Russia and China object
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations' human rights chief on Friday urged world powers to take action to protect civilians in Syria from "ruthless repression," but her call was criticised by envoys from China and Russia.
More than 4,000 people have been killed during a military crackdown on protesters that started in March and more than 14,000 people are believed to be in detention, said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
"In light of the manifest failure of the Syrian authorities to protect their citizens, the international community needs to take urgent and effective measures to protect the Syrian people," Pillay told an emergency session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Pillay did not spell out what measures world powers should take - Western leaders have in the past shied away from suggestions of military action, along the lines of the NATO campaign that helped unseat Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The United States, the EU, members of the Arab League and neighboring Turkey have already imposed sanctions on the Damascus government.
After Pillay spoke, envoys from Russia and China, which both have oil projects in Syria, took the floor to warn against foreign interference in Syria in the name of human rights.
Both countries blocked international efforts to condemn the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution in October.
CHINA, RUSSIA WARNING Continued...