Syrian Authorities Arrest Human Rights Activist in Raids
Yesterday, Syrian security forces arrested 14 human rights activists, including iconic blogger Razan Gazzawi, and Mazen Darwish, leader of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. As a precurser to the arrests Soazig Dollet, Middle East and North Africa researcher for Reporters Without Borders, said in a previous statement “anyone giving information to international media or international NGOs may be targeted.” Responding to the arrests human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni stated, “we at the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies condemn these arrests and call on Syrian authorities to immediately release them,” sentiments echoed by Reporters Without Borders.
The arrests coincided with the U.N. General Assembly’s vote to approve a resolution demanding Syrian authorities end the 11-month crackdown on protesters, and endorse an Arab League plan for a political transition – requiring President Bashar al-Assad to yield some of his power. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accused the Syrian regime of committing “almost certain” crimes against humanity as “we see neighborhoods shelled indiscriminately, hospitals used as torture centers, children as young as 10 years old jailed and abused.” While Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., offered support to the Syrian people, and added that Assad “has never been more isolated,” British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he ”not satisfied that we are taking all the action we need” in Syria. Mr. Ban reminded reporters that “the longer we debate, the more people will die.”