Rights Groups Urge UNSC Action on Fate of Syria’s Detainees & Missing
Eight Syrian civil society and international human rights organizations on Monday called on a number of UN Security Council member states to urgently address the widespread arbitrary detentions, kidnapping, torture and other-ill treatment, and enforced disappearances of tens of thousands of Syrians at the hands of the Assad regime.
The rights organizations called for immediately return the remains of the victims to their families to allow for proper burials and funeral rites, inform their relatives of the circumstances of their disappearances and deaths of their loved ones.
They also called for disclosing the names, locations and legal status of all those being deprived of their liberty. They also called for supporting the creation of a unified system for logging all cases of missing persons in Syria, including those that were kidnapped under Islamic State, as well as information regarding unidentified human remains or mass grave sites.
The list of demands also included an end to the use of unfair trials and the practice of trying civilians in military courts and abolition of the Military Field Courts.
The organizations urged donors to the United Nations and other international organizations to ensure that international co-operation and assistance programs for reconstruction and development actively promote, protect and are guided by relevant human rights obligations and standards.
Over the course of the crisis, Syrian civil society and international human rights organizations have extensively documented staggering levels of serious violations against people deprived of their liberty.
Hundreds have died in detention of torture or ill-treatment; tens of thousands have been forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime.
The Assad regime forces have subjected tens of thousands to arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions. In many cases, these violations amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Assad regime targeted those who were perceived to oppose the government or considered as disloyal, including political activists, protestors, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, doctors and humanitarian aid workers.
To date, the Assad regime continues to detain and subject tens of thousands to enforced disappearance. Their families are rarely told where their loved ones are held or whether they are still alive.
Starting May 2018, the Assad regime updated civil registries in several parts of the country, including the Damascus countryside, Hama, Aleppo, and Sweida governorates to show individuals known to have been previously detained and forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime as dead.
In some cases, families were provided with death certificates reflecting dates of death as far back as 2013 and indicating their cause of death as “heart attack.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)