"Syrians have the right to express their views in a peaceful and open manner"

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Alistair Burt, Minister for Middle East and North Africa, has made a statement on violence in Syria

I have been watching closely the situation in Syria. All Syrians have a right to express their views in a peaceful and open manner. I am extremely concerned by reports of increasing violence and the excessive use of force by security forces, apparently resulting in the death of a number of protesters yesterday.

I am also disturbed by reports of the arrest and prosecution of around 20 human rights activists who attempted to conduct a peaceful protest outside the Interior Ministry on Wednesday. This, along with reports of demonstrations in towns around Syria being broken up with lethal force is very worrying.

I call on the Government of Syria to respect the people’s right to peaceful protest and listen to their legitimate grievances. I welcome the news that the Syrian authorities are planning an investigation into the deaths of protestors yesterday. This process needs to be a fair and transparent and ensures that those responsible are held accountable