– by MEM
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, SNHR has issued a report marking the international day of the victims of enforced disappearances saying the Syrian regime’s forces are holding at least 85,000 people since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution on March 15, 2011.
The network said “the Syrian regime have been carrying out arrest campaigns since the beginning of the Syrian revolution. They targeted the leaders of the popular uprising at first before expanding to include anyone connected or related, even remotely to the Syrian revolution or any other political, intellectual, media or humanitarian activities aiming to benefit the Syrian revolution”.
The report stated that “the great disaster is the fact that there is not any information about the whereabouts of those detainees according to tens of testimonies of victims’ families”.
The report pointed out that enforced disappearance is a violation of customary humanitarian law and a crime against humanity according to Article 7 of the Rome Statute, amounting to a war crime.
The network also pointed out that it has lists of more than 110, 000 people still being detained by the Syrian regime and that the real number of detainees could be double, amounting to nearly 215, 000 prisoners.
The network said the Islamic State (IS) has arrested hundreds of people and committed the crime of enforced disappearance, mostly against media activists, military activists or even relief workers. One of the most notable individuals that have been disappeared was Father Paolo Dall’Oglio.
The network held the armed opposition factions responsible for committing enforced disappearance, most notably against civilian activists such as Razan Zeitouna, Wael Hamada and Samra Al Khalil.
SNHR head, Fadel Abdulghani said “the Syrian regime has not only arbitrary arrested tens of thousands of civilians, it also keeps them in undisclosed locations perpetrating several crimes at the same time. The detainee should be kept in places that have humanitarian standards, publically known and supervised by the government who should be responsible for his life and security. They should also ensure that he is not tortured to die. If the Syrian authorities refuse to give information about the detainees and their places of detention, then they are a partner in the crime of enforced disappearance.”
The network recommended that the United Nations and the Security Council pass a binding resolution forcing the Syrian authorities to release all those detained.