On International Day of the Disappeared, Int’l Community Chooses to Disappear

Press release
Syrian National Coalition – Syria
Department of Media and Communications
August 30, 2019

Enforced disappearance was a key part of the Assad regime’s policy to eliminate the prominent activists, along with killings, forced displacement, detention and torture. The Assad regime has long used enforced disappearance as a means to spread terror and instill fear in the hearts of the Syrian people with the aim of breaking their will and discouraging them from carrying on with the revolution. These actions, including enforced disappearance, affected all vulnerable social groups, especially women, children and the elderly.

An estimated 85,000 people have been forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime since the start of the revolution, a figure that has been verified by rights organizations which are still documenting new cases. About 400 cases of enforced disappearance were documented in last July alone, including refugees who were detained and forcibly disappeared by the Assad regime after returning to Syria.

The litany of crimes the Assad regime committed over the past years amounts to the worst and most horrible crimes in our modern era. The Syrian National Coalition, therefore, reiterates the need for the UN Security Council to follow up on the enforcement of its relevant resolutions, most importantly resolutions 2042, 2043 and 2139, especially the provisions on enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and torture of detainees. Tens of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances, abductees and detainees are held in extremely dire conditions.

Articles 1, 2 and 5 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance criminalize enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity under international law. They stress that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.

The Coalition deplores the shameful international inaction towards the Assad regime’s crimes and horrific violations of human rights. We stress the need for effective states to shoulder their responsibilities with regards to putting an end to these systematic crimes which must be referred to the International Criminal Court and those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria since 2011 be held accountable.

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