An independent human rights group said that the Assad regime has admitted responsibility for thousands of cases of enforced disappearance after it recently released lists of the names of 836 people who died in its custody. It said that the Assad regime’s manipulation of the civil registry records confirmed its responsibility for thousands of kidnappings in Syria.
In a new report issued on Monday, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that the UN Security Council is still ‘dead’ despite the compelling evidence about the Assad regime’s responsibility for enforced disappearance in Syria. It noted that it had complied a list of the names of some 82,000 people who were forcefully disappeared in Syria and the names of 14,000 detainees who died under torture in the prisons of the Assad regime.
In May, the Assad regime began revealing the fate of a large number of the forcibly disappeared by manipulating the civil registry records and registering them as dead.
According to the report, all of the people whose names resurfaced on the recently released lists have died because of torture, save for 37 people who were executed after being issued with death sentences by the regime’s military field court-martial.
The Network said that the Assad regime did not hand over the bodies of the deceased to their families nor did it announce the deaths the day they occurred. The Assad regime has previously denied the existence of any detainees in its detention facilities. The report listed nine children and one woman.
The Network said it had cross-matched the names on the lists that the Assad regime recently released with a database of approximately 82,000 forcefully disappeared people.
The cross-matching showed that 77 percent of the names on the recently released lists were in the Network’s database, the report added. The monitoring group went on to say that it did the same cross-matching on its databases of the people who died under torture in the prisons of the Assad regime. The Network said it had compiled a list of nearly 14,000 people who had died in the regime’s custody since March 2011.
“Only 28 people were previously registered by the Network as having died because of torture, so 97 percent of the newly revealed deaths were classified as forcibly disappeared,” the report added.
The report analyzed the lists that the Assad regime has recently begun releasing and concluded that most of those who were declared dead were detained in 2011 and 2012. The majority of those were forcibly disappeared in Sednaya Military Prison and Security Branches 215 and 227.
The report stressed that the crime of enforced disappearance continued as the Assad regime did not hand over the bodies of the deceased to their families. As long as the person was not found alive or dead, he is considered to be forcibly disappeared according to international law, and the main culprit is the Assad regime.
Director of the Network, Fadl Abdul Ghani, said that it is almost possible to determine the Assad regime’s goal behind the release of these lists. He said that there were two hypotheses. The first one is that the Russians asked the Assad regime to release these lists with the aim of closing the page on the issue of detainees as it remains an obstacle to the political process. The second one is that the Assad regime wants to appear as winning the war and that it is time now to turn the page on the issue of detainees.
“As human rights advocates, we must ask about the usefulness of the existence of the UN Security Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and international law,” Abdul Ghani said.
The Network concluded its report by demanding that the UN Security Council hold an emergency meeting to discuss the dangerous situation that threatens the fate of some 82,000 people and terrorize the entire Syrian society. It also called for finding ways and mechanisms to prevent the Assad regime from further manipulation of the civil registry records.
The report also stressed the need for the UN Security Council to take measures to put an end to murder and torture in the prisons of the Assad regime and to rescue the remaining detainees as soon as possible. It stressed the need to resort to Chapter VII of the UN Charter to protect detainees from death in the Assad regime detention facilities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)