Sunday, May 1, 2011

The UN, U.S. and European pressure on Syria strong

The Human Rights Council of the UN, the European Union (EU) and United States on Friday condemned the crackdown on protests in Syria and increased international pressure on the government of Bashar Assad, on a day that killed at least ten for demonstrations. The U.S. president, Barack Obama, decided the imposition of targeted sanctions against senior Syrian government officials, including a brother and a cousin of Asad, for "abuse" in human rights.

At the same time, issued a one-year extension of the "state of emergency" regarding Syria and therefore the comprehensive sanctions imposed on the country since 2004, and were to expire next May 11. The order affects the Syrian president's brother Mahir al-Assad, and his cousin Atif Naguib, and the Syrian intelligence service and the Qods Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

In addition to the family of the Syrian president, U.S. sanctions, which involve the freezing of any bank accounts or assets in U.S. territory with those affected, and the ban on U.S. citizens from negotiating with those mentioned, affect the General Intelligence Directorate The main civil Syrian secret service, and its director, Ali Mamluk.

Also directed against the Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, which Washington accuses of providing "material support" to the Syrian government "related to the suppression of protests." For its part, the Human Rights Council United Nations voted to ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights UN Navanethem Pillay, "immediately send a mission" to Syria.

The text proposed by the United States were 26 votes in favor and nine against, among the latter those of countries like China and Russia. The Council, which is based in Geneva, with a total of 47 member countries, expects an initial oral report on the investigation in early June. Meanwhile, the European Union did not rule out implementing an arms embargo on Syria and EU suspend aid to the country after a meeting of permanent ambassadors of the 27 states of the EU in Brussels.

In a statement issued after the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reminded the authorities of "its obligation to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms" and called for "immediate release of political prisoners and advocates humans. " Ahston warned that the EU has initiated an internal process to an arms embargo and "consider further measures." Despite international pressure, at least 62 people were killed on Friday during protests.

The names of those killed were published online. The organizations indicated that a young woman was killed by security forces in the port city of Latakia, while nine others died from gunshot wounds during the protests in the city of Dera. Tens of thousands of Syrians rallied Friday in different parts of the country, despite the new threats of the government, which had banned protests.

Protesters took to the streets in the capital, Damascus, Latakia, Homs, and Hama Kamishli. In videos of the demonstrations, which were posted on the internet by activists, the audience heard shouting: "The people want the regime's fall," "God is great" and "God, Syria, freedom and nothing else." Opposition sources claimed that security forces fired on protesters who tried to march on the city of Dera, which is taken by the Army since the beginning of the week.

Deraa a witness told the station Al Jazeera that demonstrators were killed by gunfire from the agents. Also, hundreds of Jordanians went on Friday to the streets of the town of Ramtha, in northern Jordan and the region bordering Syria, to express support for the protests taking place in the Syrian city of Deraa, witnesses said.

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