A leading international human rights group accused Syrian authorities on Wednesday of using harsh measures to limit the freedoms of activists, including arrests, travel bans and refusal to grant them licenses to operate in the country.
In a 46-page report, the New-York based Human Rights Watch said the Syrian government has used emergency powers, in place for 44 years, and restrictive legislation "to stifle the activists' exercise of their most basic rights" even though the Syrian constitution grants the freedom of association and expression.
The Syrian government should "stop relying on the continuing state of emergency to detain and harass human rights activists and to prevent the registration of human rights groups," the report said.
The report, based on research conducted by the organization in Syria on November 6 to 18, 2006, comes amid a rise in detentions of Syrian activists.
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