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Multiple blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday. At least 156 people, including 35 foreigners, are reported killed, according to police and government sources.

Africa

World parliamentary body to send fact-finding mission to Syria

media A Syrian refugee walks at Islahiye refugee camp in Gaziantep 3 April 2012. Reuters/Osman Orsal

The international organisation of parliamentarians, the Inter Parliamentary Union or IPU, is to send a fact-finding mission to Syria to assess the situation and take any necessary measures to help end the violence.

In a resolution adopted at the final session of the 126th IPU Assembly in Kampala, they expressed solidarity and sympathy for the Syrian people whose democratic freedoms and human rights are being systematically and brutally undermined by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The IPU resolution called for an immediate end to violence and abuses in Syria and pledged full support for international and regional efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

IPU Secretary General Anders Johnsson said the mission will examine what exactly led to the violence and deliberate hampering of the activities of international and Arab relief organisations.

“It is a fruit of the labour of parliaments from Arab countries, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa which called for immediate respect of the peace plan put forward” Anders said.

But Secretary Anders did not give the assembly any details of when exactly the mission will be dispatched or who will involved in it.

“It's meant to report what the current situation is in Syria today to the president of the IPU and to the United Nations” he explained.

The IPU plays a central role in assisting emerging democracies, fostering political reconciliation and upholding the principles of representative democracy and human rights.

The parliamentarians urged the United Nations and the Arab league to redouble their efforts to bring an end to armed violence in Syria and to address the current humanitarian crisis.

“We are also reaching out to the Arab league and the United Nations to try to put together that mission,” he said.

On the issue of good governance, the members of the IPU were urged to lend support to the democratisation process in the Middle East and North Africa and called for donors to honour their aid promises to the Arab Spring countries.

The assembly asked the military junta in Mali to respect and honor the commitment made on 1 April to restore the Malian Republic institution and to relinquish power.

The IPU asked the international community to support the decisions taken by Ecowas heads of state to restore peace, democracy and the rule of law and the integrity of its territory.

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