UN experts say Syria snubs demands on torture

Associated Press Modified: May 16, 2012 at 10:46 am •  Published: May 16, 2012

GENEVA (AP) — The Syrian government snubbed a U.N. committee when it failed to appear Wednesday or report on any efforts to prevent the use of torture, committee members said.

The Committee Against Torture said the Syrian delegation was a no-show at a scheduled meeting and did provide a report on whether it is complying with a U.N. convention against torture as it was required to do.

Syria was asked to explain whether it is complying with a 1987 U.N. convention against torture and heeding the committee's May 2010 recommendations, but its U.N. mission in Geneva wrote the U.N. in February questioning the committee's legitimacy. The committee's 10 independent experts monitor compliance with the convention, which Syria joined in 2004.

A committee statement cited "widespread violations" of the convention by the government and alleged abuses by armed opposition groups.

Committee chair Claudio Grossman said the government has carried out widespread killings, torture in hospitals, detention centers and secret detention facilities, and torture of children and sexual torture of male detainees.

He said security forces have regularly raided hospitals to find and kill injured demonstrators and used mass graves to cover up abuses.

Committee member Essaida Belmir said the world is seeing spiraling numbers of deaths and systematic torture, including a shocking number of children being tortured and killed.

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