UN rights chief seeks probe on Syria crackdown

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN rights chief on Tuesday called on Syrian authorities to carry out a transparent probe into a crackdown on demonstrators over the weekend and to halt the excessive use of force.

"The government should carry out an independent, transparent and effective investigation into the killings of the six protesters during the events of 18 and 20 March," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

"We are greatly concerned by the recent killings of protesters in Syria and reiterate the need to put an immediate halt to the excessive use of force against peaceful protestors, especially the use of live ammunition," he added.

Colville stressed that the use of excessive force was a "clear violation of international law" and that perpetrators could be prosecuted.

"People have the legitimate right to express their grievances and demands to their government, and we urge the Syrian government to enter into a broad, meaningful dialogue with the protesters in an attempt to address those grievances," the spokesman added.

Thousands marched from March 18 for four straight days in Daraa, south of Damascus, defying teargas and even live firing by security forces.

© 2011 AFP

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