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UN human rights chief slams Syria over 'unjustified' Ghouta attacks

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By Tokunbo Salako  with Reuters
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein   -   Copyright  Reuters

The United Nations has launched a stinging attack on Syria over its continued offensive in Ghouta.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights says there can be no justification for what he called the government's brutal attacks on the besieged rebel-held enclave.

"Recent attempts to justify indiscriminate, brutal attacks on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the need to combat a few hundred fighters as in Eastern Ghouta are legally, and morally, unsustainable," said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. "When you are prepared to kill your own people so easily, lying is easy too. Claims by the Government of Syria that it is taking every measure to protect its civilian population are frankly ridiculous."

The UN's global human rights update in full

The UN also believes Myanmar tried to cover up acts of genocide that allegedly took place against Rohingya Muslims in the northern Rakhine state.

"My office has strong suspicions that acts of genocide may have taken place in Rakhine state since August," said al-Hussein. "I am therefore not surprised by reports that the Rohinja villages that were attacked in recent years and alleged mass graves of the victims are being bulldozed. This appears to be deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy potential evidence of international crimes."

The UN Human Rights chief also took the United States to task over its treatment of migrants accusing it of failing to respect basic rights and he criticised Austria over plans to crackdown on Muslim schools.