UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Two special advisers to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have expressed their alarm at reports of mass killings in Syria in a statement released by the UN spokesperson's office here Thursday.
"The special advisers of the secretary-general on the prevention of genocide and on the responsibility to protect, Mr. Francis Deng and Mr. Edward Luck, are gravely alarmed by the widespread reports of mass killings in attacks that involved a series of government artillery and tank shellings on residential neighborhoods, as well as alleged attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure by a pro-government militia and other armed groups, which may constitute crimes against humanity," said the statement.
In the statement, Luck and Deng said the attacks underscore a failure by the Syrian government to protect its own people.
"The mass killings of civilians in El-Houla and Mazraat al- Qubeir, including the brutal assault and murder of women and children at close range, represent an alarming escalation in targeted attacks against civilians," said the statement, urging the killings be ceased immediately.
The two advisers have asked the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) be given unimpeded access to carry out its mandate in Syria, particularly to investigate reports of killings.
A six-point plan for the resolution of the crisis in Syria has been created by the Arab League and UN joint special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. UNSMIS has been deployed to support the implementation of this international plan.
The advisers called on the international community to take immediate, decisive action to meet its responsibility to protect populations at risk of further atrocity crimes in Syria, taking into consideration the full range of tools available under the United Nations Charter.
Luck and Deng also urged the UN Security Council to consider a request by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court ( ICC) due to "the extreme gravity of the crimes committed."