Australia ramps up sanctions on Syrian regime

Media release

Canberra

13 May 2011

The Australian Government strongly condemns the recent actions of the Syrian regime against its people.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the regime's acts of intimidation and human rights abuses were deplorable.

"Australia calls on the Syrian authorities to immediately end all violence against civilians and to withdraw the military from the streets of Dera'a, Homs, and other cities," Mr Rudd said.

"The Government is ramping up targeted financial sanctions against key regime figures responsible for human rights abuses and lethal suppression of peaceful protests in Syria, and is also imposing an embargo on arms and other equipment used for internal repression."

This builds on Australia’s financial sanctions against key regime members initiated in April.

"We will continue to bring pressure to bear on the Syrian Government to end the regime’s completely unacceptable use of violence against the Syrian people," Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd spoke yesterday with UN Secretary General Ban and encouraged the appointment of a Special Representative on Syria to investigate and report on developments there.

Australia also co-sponsored a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on 29 April that condemned the use of lethal force against protestors.

Mr Rudd welcomed the fact that Syria will not be a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council.

"Syria’s membership of the Council would have been an affront to the people of Syria and the international community."

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