Syrian crisis reaching stage of civil war UN human rights chief says

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told journalists in Geneva that 4,000 was a conservative estimate, with “the reliable information coming to us… that it’s much more than that.”Ms. Pillay will address a special session tomorrow of the UN Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva to discuss this week’s release of an independent international commission of inquiry into the crackdown.That three-member commission, established by the Council, found evidence that Syria’s military and security forces have committed crimes against humanity since March, when a public uprising began across Syria, in line with similar movements across North Africa and the Middle East.The commission’s report is based on interviews with more than 200 victims and witnesses of human rights violations, including civilians and defectors from the military and security forces.Aside from its findings, the commission called on the Syrian Government to immediately end the ongoing rights violations, to initiate investigations of these incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice.Speaking today, Ms. Pillay warned that as more defectors threatened to take up arms, there is an increasing threat of “a civil war and at the moment that is how I am characterizing this.” 1 December 2011The deteriorating situation in Syria is now close to a civil war and the death toll from the nine-month crackdown by the country’s security forces against protesters has passed at least 4,000, the United Nations human rights chief said today. read more

Troops still at work in cycloneaffected Gampaha District

Troops of the 141 Brigade, 8 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI), 2 (V) Sri Lanka Army Service Corps (SLASC) of the 14 Division as on Monday (15) are serving Diklanda, Katukenda, Sirignawatta, Alugolla, Agalegedara, Mellawagedara, Heeralugedara, Pethigoda, Polhena, Walpita, Tammita, Kudagammana, Hagawatta, Waradala, Pahalamadithiyawela, Ullapola, Ihalamadithiyawela, Hunumulla, Kalumada and Delwagura areas where more than 661 houses remain either partly or fully damaged due to those cyclonic winds.Major General Ralph Nugera, GOC, 14 Division in the past two days visited the worst-affected Alugolla, Mallawagedara, Diklanda, Katukenda, Heeralugedara and Giriulla areas and encouraged the troops. Army troops, deployed in more than 20 Grama Niladari Divisions in Divulapitiya Divisional Secretariat area in Gampaha District are still engaged in clearing and relief operations in cyclonic wind-hit locations in close coordination with members of sister services, District Secretariat and officials of the Disaster Management Centre, the Army media unit said.The sudden emergence of cyclonic winds in the western province during evening hours on Friday (12) prompted Army personnel in the Security Force Headquarters – West (SFHQ-West) to rush to affected areas and respond quickly providing immediate clearing assistance and relief measures. Alert to the sudden cyclonic catastrophe, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army instructed the SFHQ-West to take necessary steps as necessary and help the victims as much as possible. Troops are currently busy clearing of roads, restoring electricity, removal of fallen trees and other paraphernalia, establishment of temporary shelters and huts, laying of tarpaulin on damaged roofs, transport of garbage and other related work under the guidance of Major General Ralph Nugera, General Officer Commanding, 14 Division. read more