Geneva, February 24, 2020: The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), in coordination and cooperation with Human Rights Watch, organized a high-level side event at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Headquarters in Geneva entitled ’DETAINEES AND TORTURE IN SYRIA’ during the opening of the UNHRC’s forty-third session. The event was held under the auspices of Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Finland, and with the participation of five foreign ministers representing Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Liechtenstein and Finland, and attended by a large number of foreign delegates, representatives of international organizations and envoys of several other countries.
In general, the Ministers’ statements emphasized the grave and continuing nature of torture in the Syrian regime’s detention centers, stressing the need for accountability for these pervasive torture violations against detainees; in most of their statements, they demanded that unconditional access be provided to all of the Syrian regime’s detention centers, with a number of ministers also referring to the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in Idlib.
Ms. Soumaia Alolabi, a survivor of arrest and torture, also spoke about the torture she witnessed and experienced at the hands of the Syrian regime’s forces and security services.
Mr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, opened his statement by recalling what is happening in northwest Syria, reiterating a fundamental question, namely, why do 95% of the population of cities and towns in Syria flee to the open air and camps, leaving behind their homes and possessions when Syrian Regime forces and Iranian militias advance towards these areas, despite the bitter cold and terrible conditions, and why don’t they return after Syrian Regime forces take control of their areas? Mr. Abdul Ghany explained that the refugees and IDPs who return to areas under the control of the Syrian regime face arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and forced conscription into the ranks of the Syrian regime’s forces. This was detailed in a previous report issued by the SNHR.