Washington, DC – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement after President Obama issued an Executive Order imposing tough economic sanctions against Syrian officials and others responsible for human rights abuses in that country:
"We have all grown increasingly alarmed by the violence unleashed against the Syrian people. The world should condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible. Syrians are every bit as deserving of human rights and dignity as the Libyans, Tunisians, and Egyptians and the government should have met their protests with responsiveness not repression. That the government would continue to respond to the courage of its people with indiscriminate killing and the use of tanks in population centers is unacceptable.
“Democratic aspirations are universal, but every country is unique and every situation in the Middle East is different. The status quo in Syria is unacceptable. What is clear is that we need to increase the political and economic pressure so President Assad understands that he must end the violence and embrace reforms. The Administration's imposition of tough economic sanctions against the perpetrators of these grave human rights abuses is appropriate. It puts Syria’s leaders on notice that decisions to kill unarmed civilians have consequences. Because a rigorous U.S. sanctions regime is already in place, steps by the European Union, Turkey, and the Gulf countries will have even more impact.
“This afternoon, the UN Human Rights Council passed an American-sponsored resolution that condemns the violence and calls for a UN investigation. This was an important step and we should continue to coordinate our actions with the international community and press for action by the UN Security Council, oppose Syria’s candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council, and urge the Arab League and Organization of the Islamic Conference to increase their political pressure."