Updated UN study indicates at least 93,000 people killed in Syria conflict
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
13 June 2013
An updated analysis carried out by data specialists on behalf of the UN Human Rights Office has led to the compilation of a list of 92,901 documented cases of individuals killed in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced Thursday.
“The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels – with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July, including a total of just under 27,000 new killings since 1 December,” Pillay said. “Unfortunately, as the study indicates, this is most likely a minimum casualty figure. The true number of those killed is potentially much higher.”
The latest study -- which updates an earlier one that compiled some 60,000 documented deaths up to 30 November 2012 -- was conducted using a combined list of 263,055 reported killings, fully identified by the name of the victim, as well as the date and location of the death. Any reported killing that did not include at least these three elements was excluded from the list, which was compiled using datasets from eight different sources. (…)
The statistical analysts who produced the report noted that, despite the possibility of some duplicate or erroneously reported deaths being included, this total is likely to underestimate the actual number of killings. This conclusion is based on the fact that 37,988 reported killings containing insufficient information were excluded from the analysis, and that there is a strong likelihood that a significant number of killings may not have been reported at all by any of the eight sources. (…)
“This extremely high rate of killings, month after month, reflects the drastically deteriorating pattern of the conflict over the past year,” Pillay said. “As clearly indicated in the latest report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, civilians are bearing the brunt of widespread, violent and often indiscriminate attacks which are devastating whole swathes of major towns and cities, as well as outlying villages. Government forces are shelling and launching aerial attacks on urban areas day in and day out, and are also using strategic missiles and cluster and thermobaric bombs. (…)
The analysis was not able to differentiate consistently between combatants and non-combatants, and around three-quarters of the reported killings do not record the victim’s age.
Nevertheless, “the killings of at least 6,561 minors, including at least 1,729 children under ten years old – have been documented,” the High Commissioner said. “There are also well-documented cases of individual children being tortured and executed, and entire families, including babies, being massacred – which, along with this devastatingly high death toll, is a terrible reminder of just how vicious this conflict has become.”
“I urge the parties to declare an immediate ceasefire before tens of thousands more people are killed or injured,” Pillay said. “Nobody is gaining anything from this senseless carnage. And States with influence could, if they act collectively, do a lot more to bring the conflict to a swift end, thereby saving countless more lives. The only answer is a negotiated political solution. Tragically, shamefully, nothing will restore the 93,000 or more individual lives already lost.”