'Assad's decade marked by repression'

Human Rights Watch says Syrians have "No freedom, no rights."

July 17, 2010 11:11
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad

bashar assad 311. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ten year’s in power have been marked by repression and breaches of human rights, NGO Human Rights Watch said in a report released Friday.

According to the 35-page report, Assad has failed to deliver on his promises to increase public freedoms and improve his government's human rights record in the past decade. It accused him of repressing political and human rights activism, restricting freedom of expression, using torture and badly treating Kurds.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

During his inauguration on July 17, 2000, Assad spoke of a need for "creative thinking," "transparency," and "democracy." But the report said such a period of tolerance was short-lived. Syrian criminal courts have sentenced lawyers to jail for criticizing Syria's human rights record. Syrian security agencies detain people without arrest warrants and torture with impunity. Censorship is prevalent and extends to popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Blogger. The Kurdish minority, at about 10 percent of the population, is denied basic group rights, including the right to learn Kurdish in schools or celebrate Kurdish festivals, and hundreds of thousands of them do not possess citizenship.

"Whether [Assad] wanted to be a reformer but was hampered by an entrenched old guard or has been just another Arab ruler unwilling to listen to criticism, the outcome for Syria's people is the same: No freedom, no rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "He has done virtually nothing to improve his country's human rights record."

According to Human Rights Watch, Assad has justified the lack of political reforms either by arguing that his priority is economic reform or by contending that regional circumstances have interfered with his reform agenda. But it noted that a review of Syria's record showed a consistent policy of repressing dissent regardless of international or regional pressures on Syria.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A general view of the attack during the military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, 2018
September 24, 2018
Iran warns U.S. and Israel of revenge after deadly parade attack