UN chief demands end to 'violent repression' in Syria

After rights group claims that security forces kill 34 in Hama crackdown, UN spokeswoman says Ban-Ki-moon asks for immediate end to human rights abuses by pro-Assad forces against protesters.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/ Joshua Lott)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/ Joshua Lott)
UNITED NATIONS - The UN chief on Friday demanded an immediate end to the "violent repression" and human rights abuses by Syrian forces in their bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "is deeply troubled by the continued serious violations of human rights, including disturbing reports of the deaths of children under torture, live ammunition and shelling," UN spokeswoman Vannina Maestracci told reporters.
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She said Ban "takes note" of a promised amnesty and call for national dialogue by the Syrian authorities.
"He emphasizes, however, that violent repression by security and military forces must end immediately for a genuine and inclusive dialogue to take place and lead to the comprehensive reforms and change called for by the Syrian people," Maestracci said.
She added that Ban reiterated his for call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into the killings.
Earlier on Friday, a Syrian human rights activist said Syrian security forces had shot dead at least 34 demonstrators in Hama, in one of the bloodiest incidents in their crackdown on an 11-week-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution condemning Syria which was circulated to its 15 members by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal last week. Veto powers Russia and China have made clear they dislike the idea of council involvement in what they see as a domestic issue.
Diplomats said Security Council envoys met on Thursday to see if there was any way to amend the resolution so that Russia and China would not veto it. They have yet to overcome their differences, Western diplomats said.
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