(No. 120 - March 24, 2011 - 6:50 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the recent violence in Dara’a, Syria:
"Canada is deeply concerned by reports that peaceful demonstrators in Dara’a have been subject to arbitrary arrests and to violent crackdowns that have resulted in numerous deaths.
"We offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
"We urge the Syrian authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of demonstrators and to protect the human rights of all Syrian citizens.
"We also consider the communications lockdown around the city of Dara’a to be extreme and unjustified. Freedom of assembly and freedom of the press are fundamental pillars of democracy. Syrians are looking to achieve the rights that we Canadians take for granted. The courage of these citizens who are seeking their rights must be commended.
"Canada stands by the Syrian people in this time of turmoil and grief.
"As the security situation in Syria is deteriorating, we strongly urge all Canadian citizens currently in the country to register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service in order to receive the Government of Canada’s latest updates and advice.
"Canada notes the reform initiatives pledged by President Bashar al-Assad on March 24. We hope the Government of Syria will follow up with genuine consultations with the Syrian people."
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