Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Syria: UN Team Should Insist on Protection of Protesters

Syrian Attacks Show Blatant Disregard for Security Council Call

August 23, 2011

"(New York) – The UN humanitarian assessment mission in Syria should demand guarantees from the government that security forces will fully respect the right to peaceful assembly in areas the UN team visits, Human Rights Watch said today.

Shortly after the UN mission left the area on August 21, 2011, security forces opened fire on protesters gathered near the Clock Tower Square in Homs. The protesters had gathered as the UN convoy drove by to draw attention to their plight by carrying banners that read “SOS” and “We will never stop until we get our freedom.” Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that security forces killed three peaceful protesters gathered near the square, and a fourth succumbed to his wounds shortly thereafter. A witness who visited some nearby private hospitals told Human Rights Watch that he knew of six wounded taken to al-Barr Hospital, four to Bab Sba` hospital, and one to `Ummali hospital.

Syria has demonstrated with gunfire and bloodshed that its promise to allow the UN to conduct a humanitarian mission without hindrance is hollow,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The UN needs to get cast-iron guarantees that this will not happen again.”...."

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