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Members of Commission of Inquiry on Syria meet in Geneva

27 September 2011

The three members of the Human Rights Council’s Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria arrived in Geneva on 25 September 2011 to begin their inquiry on human rights violations reported in the course of the protests that started five months ago. The Commissioners will meet with diplomats, United Nations Officials and civil society representatives for preliminary consultations.

Professor Paulo Pinheiro of Brazil, the Chairperson of the Commission, is a former United Nations Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council. The other members of the Commission are Yakin Ertürk of Turkey, who is a professor of Sociology and also a former United Nations Special Rapporteur, and Karen Abu Zayd of the United States, who most recently served as Commissioner-General of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East (UNRWA), the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees.

The Commission’s findings are expected to be made public at the end of November and updated in March 2012.

In August 2011, the Geneva-based Council decided to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry after considering the report of a fact-finding mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The independent Commission is tasked with establishing the facts and circumstances of reported human rights violations and, where possible, identifying those responsible and ensuring that they are held accountable.

An introductory press briefing with the Commissioners will take place on Friday, 30 September 2011 at 11:30 a.m. in Press Room III, in the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

For information on the Human Rights Council 17th Special Session on the “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic”, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/17/index.htm

Learn more about the Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/hrc

For more information and media inquiries, please contact Cedric Sapey, Public Information Officer: (+41 (0) 22.917.96.57 or +41 (0) 79.477.44.11 or csapey@ohchr.org)

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For use of the information media; not an official record