Syria : A gap between what is said and what is done

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization, the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) strongly condemn the bloody repression of peaceful protests in Syria. Since March 18, 2011, Syrian security forces have used live ammunition to silence growing peaceful protests in several cities. According to the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, 123 people died following these shootings against demonstrators.

Click here to access the list of people killed in Syria since March 18, 2011

On March 30, the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, announced that new measures would be put in place, including the establishment of a committee to conduct an investigation into the deaths of protesters.

Despite such announcement, according to reliable sources, 22 demonstrators died and around 120 others were injured during a demonstration which gathered 7000 people in Duma, near Damascus, on April 1, 2011. Eyewitnesses said that snipers were positioned on the roof of buildings and fired on the demonstrators in Duma. Most of the victims were wounded in the head and chest.

Leaders of the protest movement in the city of al-Tall who planned to hold a demonstration on April 1st as well, stated that they received a warning from a representative of the Ba’ath party a few days earlier, informing them that snipers would be deployed in the city if a demonstration was to occur. On April 1st, three buses with armed security officers in plain clothes arrived in al-Tall where the demonstration was called off.

The latest developments, which occurred after Al-Assad’s announcement, seriously call into question the willingness of Syrian authorities to end this violent repression against protesters and to order an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into those killings.

Given this situation and with regard to the past human rights record in Syria, FIDH and DCHRS call upon the international community to pressure them to immediately end the systematic repression against peaceful demonstrators and to hold those responsible of summary executions accountable. FIDH and DCHRS call on the United Nations Security Council to denounce the summary executions of civilian population, under its responsibility to protect and on the the UN Human Rights Council to convene a Special Session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Lastly, FIDH and DCHRS call upon the Syrian authorities to lift the state of emergency and to make sure that any law which could be drafted pertaining to national security will meet the requirements of international human rights law.

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