Freedom House condemns the ever-deepening cycle of repression directed by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters throughout the country. Today, security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Hama, killing at least 40, according to Syrian human rights observers. Attacks on protesters were also reported in the southern town of Jassim and the northeastern city of Deir al-Zour, as well as other locations. The demonstrations on “Children’s Friday,” which appeared to be the largest of the 10-week uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, were mainly provoked by the circulation of graphic videos documenting the murder and mutilation of a 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khatib, by Syrian security forces.
Freedom House today released Worst of the Worst 2011: The World’s Most Repressive Societies, its annual report identifying the world’s most flagrant human rights abusers, at a press conference during the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council.