Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called once again on Syrian authorities to stop their bloody crackdown on protesters and to allow access for the United Nations to assess the humanitarian and human rights situation in the country.
Damascus has been widely criticised for its often violent repression of demonstrators calling for democratic reform and greater civil liberties. The unrest in recent months has reportedly claimed the lives of 1,200 people and sent more than 10,000 fleeing across the border into Turkey.
Last month President Bashar al-Assad pledged to carry out reforms in response to the protests, which are part of a broader uprising this year across North Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Ban had urged the President to carry out the measures without delay and in a way that is both genuine and credible.
The Secretary-General told reporters in Geneva today that the killings “must stop,” adding “we cannot go on like this.”
He also called on the Syrian leadership to deliver on its commitments and allow access for a UN humanitarian assessment team and a human rights fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council.
UN officials have voiced deep concern about the situation on the ground amid continuing reports of excessive use of force against demonstrators, detention and ill-treatment.