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Briefing notes on Syria and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Location: Geneva
Date: 8 November 2011

(1) Syria
The brutal Government crackdown on dissent in Syria has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians.

Since Syria signed the peace plan sponsored by the League of Arab States last week, more than 60 people are reported to have been killed by military and security forces, including at least 19 on the Sunday that marked Eid al-Adha.

While the Syrian government announced the release of 553 detainees on Saturday on the occasion of Eid, tens of thousands remain in detention and dozens continue to be arbitrarily arrested everyday. Syrian troops continue to use tanks and heavy weaponry to mount attacks on residential areas in the city of Homs. The situation in the neighbourhood of Baba Amr has been particularly appalling. According to information the UN human rights office has received, the neighbourhood has remained under siege for seven days, with residents deprived of food, water and medical supplies.

We are deeply concerned about the situation and by the Government's failure to take heed of international and regional calls for an end to the bloodshed.

(2) The Democratic Republic of the Congo

A report into human rights and fundamental freedoms during the pre-electoral period in the DRC is due to be released tomorrow (Wednesday) simultaneously in Kinshasa and Geneva. The report, by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, documents human rights violations in the run up to the national elections scheduled for 28 November 2011. It makes recommendations to the Government and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

ENDS

For more information or media requests, please contact Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org).

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