Statement Regarding Ongoing Violence in Syria

U.S. Rep. Gary C. Peters

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express deep concern about the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria.  People all over the world have watched with awe as democratic movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya have risen up against autocratic and corrupt regimes.  We have witnessed humanity at its best, as people have shown the courage and bravery to peacefully protest in the face of violence.  We have also unfortunately witnessed humanity at its worst, as desperate governments have lashed out in an effort to preserve their rule.

The Syrian government has historically been one of the most repressive in the Middle East, so it should be no surprise that the Syrian people have protested the many abuses they are subjected to.  Hundreds of those protesters have tragically been killed at the hands of Syrian government forces, and thousands more have been detained.  The human rights violations of the Syrian government must be condemned and the Syrian people should be allowed to exercise their fundamental freedoms.

These recent violations, as well as the Syrian regime’s longstanding record of infringing on human rights, should raise grave concerns that many nations have embraced Syria’s candidacy to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.  The Syrian regime lacks any moral authority to protect human rights and its election to U.N. Human Rights Council would mock the rebuke it just received from the same institution.  If the United States and other nations are serious about protecting human rights, we will block Syria from sitting on the U.N. Human Rights Council as long as the current government is in place.

Hy Safran; Rep. Gary C. Peters; U.S. House of Representatives; 248 273 4227 – 202 225 5802.