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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Press Statement Following the Delivery of a Joint Statement by Human Rights Council Members on the Situation in Syria

Press Statement
Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
Geneva, Switzerland
June 15, 2011


Joint Statement»

Just six weeks ago the Human Rights Council held a Special Session on the urgent human rights crisis emerging in Syria. At that session, the Council unequivocally condemned the use of violence against peaceful protestors by Syrian authorities, and called upon the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a mission to Syria to investigate the Government’s ongoing violations of its citizens’ human rights. But the Syrian government has chosen intransigence and not allowed the High Commissioner’s office to enter Syria to investigate the Government’s ongoing human rights violations and crimes.

 Regrettably, since the urgent Special Session, the already troubling human rights situation in Syria has continued deteriorated. The Syrian government continues to use its military and security forces against peaceful protestors,, and over 1000 civilians have died. The region and the wider international community have been shocked by horrific reports of torture and arbitrary arrests, , and widespread use of lethal violence against peaceful protestors. Today, the Human Rights Council has spoken again and used its voice to pressure the Syrian authorities to stop these human rights violations. The international community demands the immediate halt of violent repression by Syrian security forces, and calls on the Syrian authorities establish credible, independent and transparent investigations into these abuses, and accountability for those who perpetrated them, and to allow unfettered access to the OHCHR mission to investigate allegations of human rights violations.

We believe that this statement will show the resolve of the international community to support human rights at a time of great conflict, unrest, and transition throughout the Middle East.

The United States strongly supports the universal rights of the Syria people, including the rights of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. They are universal. They are not negotiable. They must be respected in every country. And they cannot be denied through violence or suppression.

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