The Assad regime has “systematically rejected” multiple requests to visit prisons suspected of torturing inmates, a United Nations spokesperson said Tuesday.
Thousands of prisoners are believed to be subjected to cruel treatment, including torture according to The Associated Press.
“Various U.N. entities have regularly documented and reported on human rights violations in Syria, including torture in the context of detention,” UNSG spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
“We are extremely concerned that thousands of civilians continue to be held in government detention facilities and have grounds to believe that they are systematically subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment including torture and sexual violence,” Dujarric said.
Sexual violence continues unabated in Syria as a tactic used by the Assad regime and the ISIS extremist group to terrorize, coerce, and control the civilian population, the United Nations said in a report published in early May.
According to the report, the Assad regime is using sexual violence as a tactic of warfare against opposition areas and activists.
“Women and girls have been most vulnerable in the context of house searches, at checkpoints, in detention facilities, after kidnapping by pro-government forces, and at border crossings,” the UN report said.
“Men and boys have been subjected to sexual violence during interrogations in government run detention centers.”
“In 2016, sexual violence continued to be employed as a tactic of war, with widespread and strategic rapes, including mass rapes, allegedly committed by several parties to armed conflict, mostly in conjunction with other crimes such as killing, looting, pillage, forced displacement and arbitrary detention.”
The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to constant torture and other ill-treatment in Assad’s prisons were laid bare in a damning report published by Amnesty International in August 2016.
The rights group has compiled an in depth investigation into human rights abuses inside military jails run by the Assad regime forces.
The report talked about men being ordered to rape each other to ‘amuse’ a sick guard; women raped in front of family members to force confessions; and rivers of blood from the sustained beatings and torture.
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said the report showed every stage of the prisoners’ ordeal, from the moment of their arrest, through their interrogation and detention behind the closed doors of Syria’s notorious intelligence facilities. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)