As many as 50 Syrian civil organizations on Thursday sent a joint letter to the UN Security Council calling for immediate action on the issue of missing persons and detainees in Syria. They welcomed the issuance of UN Security Council Resolution 2474 which called for prioritizing the issue of detainees and missing persons.
The letter called on the UN Security Council and defenders of human rights to exercise pressure and take concrete measures to ensure the disclosure of the fate of thousands of missing persons and the launch of serious, transparent investigation as well as establish accountability mechanisms.
The letter stressed the issue of the missing persons as key to reaching peace; establish sustainable community peace; and build a state that is based on the rule of law that fights impunity and ends the use of enforced disappearance as a weapon of war.
Moreover, the letter called for an immediate end to the arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and execution of detainees. It also called for preserving evidence and mass graves to ensure accountability.
The NGOs called for forcing the main parties to the conflict, especially the Assad regime and ISIS, to fully and unconditionally cooperate to reveal the fate of detainees and missing persons.
The Assad regime, despite issuing death notices for the missing persons after years of their disappearance, has yet to launch an independent, transparent investigation into the reasons for their deaths and disclose the location and conditions of their detention. The NGOs also called for an end to impunity that stands in the way of any sustainable peace in Syria.
Furthermore, the NGOs highlighted the importance of establishing a national institution under UN supervision to open secret and public detention centers to international inspectors and human rights organizations. They also called for supporting civil society organizations to carry out their research tasks, documentation of the missing persons, identification of the perpetrators, the provision of evidence to the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the IIIM to pursue investigations and prosecutions against the perpetrators of major crimes in Syria.
In a report issued in March, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said that about 128,000 people are still being detained or forcibly disappeared in the prisons of the Assad regime since 2011.
The Syrian Coalition earlier called on the UN Security Council and international organizations concerned with human rights and the United Nations to exert real pressure on the influential sides to force the Assad regime to disclose the fate of tens of thousands of civilians who are forcibly disappeared and ensure the immediate release of thousands of others detained in their prisons and security branches.
The UN Security Council, on request from Kuwait, on October 11 adopted resolution 2474 to discuss the issue of the missing persons, calling for the disclosure of their fate and the protection of civilians. The resolution also called upon parties to armed conflict to take all appropriate measures, to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains and to account for persons reported missing “without adverse distinction.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)