OHCHR Concerned Over Syria

The situation in Syria escalates as clashes between government security forces and anti-government demonstrators continue.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is asking the Syrian government to “draw lessons from a broader protest movement that has swept the Middle East and North Africa.”

Radmilla Suleymanova reports

The death toll in Syria is rising as security forces continue to clash with anti-government protestors.

The anti-government demonstrations started on March 18, prompting a severe crackdown by the Syrian government.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the use of live ammunition and tear gas by authorities against peaceful protestors in Syria.

Ravina Shamdasani is a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The situation on the ground is unclear because there is very few media that has been able to cover it from the ground. But we have heard these reports. Our regional officer has verified 37 killings. We are obviously very concerned about the reported use of live fire against peaceful protestors.”

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is urging Syria to draw lessons from other protests in the region and warned that the killings of protestors will only lead to more anger and violence.

“The UN high commissioner for human rights is calling for Syria to learn lessons from the rest of the Middle East, which have shown that violent repression of peaceful protests does not resolve the grievances of people. Instead it risks creating a downward spiral of anger, violence, killings and chaos.” -Ravina Shamdasani.

The High Commissioner stressed the need for an independent investigation into the killings, and called for the immediate release of all detained protestors and human rights defenders.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in a phone call to Syrian President Bashar Assad last Friday urged the government to respect and protect the rights of its citizens.

The Secretary General said that Syrian people had expressed their democratic aspirations through peaceful means.

Protests on this scale are unprecedented in recent Syrian history.

Radmilla Suleymanova, United Nations

Duration: 1’55″

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