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UN welcomes move enabling Arab League monitors to visit Syria

Syrian women protesting in May 2011
Syrian women protesting in May 2011

UN welcomes move enabling Arab League monitors to visit Syria

The United Nations said today it is encouraged by the signing of a protocol paving the way for monitors from the League of Arab States to go to Syria as part of efforts to end the violence that began earlier this year in the Middle East country.

Syria reportedly signed the protocol in Cairo yesterday, the same day that the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the country to immediately implement the plan of action proposed by the Arab League to resolve the crisis.

“The League of Arab States has continued its commendable initiative to end the violence and promote a political solution,” Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council during a briefing on the Middle East.

“In this regard, we are encouraged by the signature yesterday in Cairo of a protocol to dispatch monitors from the League of Arab States to Syria, and we continue to hope that the international community will be able to act in a concerted and coherent manner in support of these efforts for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”

Earlier this month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the Council in a closed-door meeting that more than 5,000 people have died since the start of the public uprising in Syria, including at least 300 children.

She said she was “appalled” by the constant stream of grave violations that have taken place since March, and that the Syrian Government “has manifestly ignored the pleas and condemnations of the international community at all levels.”

Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said the situation in Syria remains a source of “deep and growing concern” for the UN, noting that popular protests have continued to be met by violent repression, resulting in numerous deaths, injuries and detentions, and armed confrontations between the Government forces and the opposition have increased.

There are also growing concerns regarding the humanitarian impact of the crisis on civilians inside Syria, he added.

The uprising in Syria is part of a broader popular protest movement that has engulfed North Africa and the Middle East this year and led to the toppling of long-term regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.