Killing of Syrian protesters sparks concern from UN chief

18 March 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced concern about today’s reported killing of unarmed demonstrators in a Syrian town, describing the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters as unacceptable.

Media reports state that at least two people died after security forces opened fire at the protest in the southern town of Der’a earlier today.

Syria is one of many countries in the Middle East and North Africa to face public protests this year amid widespread calls for reform in the region.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Ban urged Syrian authorities “to refrain from violence and to abide by their international commitments regarding human rights, which guarantee the freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom of the press and the right to peaceful assembly.”

The Secretary-General stressed that, “as elsewhere, it is the responsibility of the Government in Syria to listen to the legitimate aspirations of the people and address them through inclusive political dialogue and genuine reforms, not repression.”

The deaths of the Syrian demonstrators have occurred on the same day that security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters in Yemen, killing more than 30 people. Protests and violent clashes have also taken place in recent weeks in Bahrain.


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