News story

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

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

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

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

Published 19 March 2011