Paris, May 6, 2011
France is extremely concerned about the ongoing crackdown in Syria against peaceful demonstrations and about the worsening humanitarian situation of people besieged by the army and security forces. We also denounce the hundreds of arrests, often accompanied by torture by the Syrian authorities. These massive attacks on human rights are unacceptable.
We are particularly concerned about the arrest of Riad Seif, an eminent opposition figure who was released from prison last July and whose health requires daily care. We call for his immediate release, as well as that of all people being held arbitrarily.
We are also very concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation of people besieged by the army and security forces.
We are also concerned about the fate of journalists, who are also victims of the crackdown and who are unable to exercise their profession.
We are acting within the European Union, the Human Rights Council in Geneva and at the United Nations to unambiguously denounce this crackdown and make the Syrian authorities face up to their responsibilities.
As the Ministre d’Etat has clearly stated on several occasions, France supports strong sanctions against all those responsible for this policy of repression, without exception.
We therefore welcome the European Union’s unanimous decision today to adopt sanctions against 13 Syrian officials involved in the crackdown.
This is a first step. We will begin working immediately with our EU partners to expand these measures and the list of people affected, including Syrian leaders at the highest level, in light of the developments under way./.