Syria: Campaign to Free Detainees

Human Rights Coalition Opens ‘Hearts in Our Hands’ Effort

Free Human Rights Defenders

(LONDON, February 12, 2015) — The Free Syrian Voices ( coalition, today announced its “Hearts in Our Hands” Campaign to call for the release of peaceful Syrian activists held both by the Syrian government and armed groups. The coalition was formed to coordinate the efforts of six international human rights organizations for detained Syrian human rights defenders and activists.
The campaign’s timing, over the Valentine’s Day weekend and through February 17, 2015, marks the 3rd anniversary, on February 16, of the arrest and detention of Mazen Darwish, director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and two staff members, Hussein Ghrer and Hani Zaitani. They remain in Syrian government jails solely for their human rights work, along with hundreds of other human rights, media, legal and humanitarian workers detained since the peaceful protest movement in Syria started in 2011.
During the campaign, using social media, supporters are asked to post and share pictures of themselves holding signs featuring hearts and messages or making shapes of hearts with their hands in solidarity with the imprisoned Syrians. The intention is to pressure key actors on Syria, particularly Russia and Iran, to use their influence for the release of the peaceful activists.
UN Security Council Resolution 2139 of February 22, 2014 strongly condemns the arbitrary detention and torture of civilians in Syria, as well as the kidnappings, abductions, and forced disappearances. The resolution demands the immediate end of these practices and the release of all arbitrarily detained people, starting with women and children, as well as sick, wounded, and elderly people, and including UN personnel and journalists. Syria has not complied, and there has been no follow-up from the Security Council.

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