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US and Over 50 UN Members Issue Forceful Statement on Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in Syria
June 16, 2011

Statement by Victoria Nuland
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 16, 2011

Yesterday at the Human Rights Council, the United States joined more than 50 other UN member states in issuing a forceful statement addressing the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria, calling for an end to the on-going human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities, and urging the Government of Syria to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office access to Syria to conduct their mission. The international community has been shocked by the horrific reports of torture and arbitrary arrests, and widespread use of violence against peaceful protestors. The Human Rights Council has spoken again and used its voice to pressure the Syrian authorities to stop these human rights violations. The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against peaceful demonstrators. This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now.

This action comes six weeks after the Human Rights Council held a special session on the crisis in Syria where the Council unequivocally condemned the use of violence against peaceful protestors by Syrian authorities, and called upon the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a mission to Syria to investigate the Syrian government’s ongoing violations of its citizens’ human rights. To date, the High Commissioner’s office has not been permitted to enter Syria.

This statement further demonstrates the international community’s resolve to highlight the ongoing campaign of violence by the Syrian government. The international community again calls on the Syrian authorities to establish credible, independent, and transparent investigations into these abuses, accountability for those who perpetrated them, and to allow unfettered access to the UN High Commissioner’s mission to investigate the many and varied allegations. The Syrian government must demonstrate that it is serious about addressing the Syrian people’s desire for freedom and a transition to democracy. The Syrian government must meet the aspirations of the Syrian people, including upholding individual’s universal rights and allowing them to peacefully assemble and freely voice their grievances. The United States strongly supports the universal rights of the Syrian people, including the rights of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and the ability to determine their own destiny.