The Rest of Detainees must be Rescued
SNHR has published its annual report on torture practices inside detention centers and the victims of torture toll. The report was published on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture entitled: “The Rest of detainees must be Rescued”
The report methodology is based on SNHR archive that have been built through ongoing and daily monitoring and documenting since 2011. All statistics and numbers are recorded with names, pictures, place and date of death or detention and other details. In light of the exceptional difficulties and the huge magnitude of violations, this report only contains the minimum of the violations that we were able to document. Also, the report contains eight accounts of survivors of torture from the various conflict parties.
The report notes that the toll of victims of torture who died between March 2011 and June 2016 is 12,679 individuals at least including 163 children and 53 women; among them were 12,569 individuals killed by government forces including 160 children and 38 women. The report also recorded that 18 individuals were killed by the self-management forces including one child and one woman while 29 individuals were killed by ISIS including one child and 13 women. Additionally, 15 individuals were killed by Al-Nussra Front and 19 were killed by armed opposition factions including one child and one woman. The repost also recorded the death of two individuals due to torture by unidentified groups.
The report holds the Syrian regime responsible for 99% of the victims who died due to torture inside detention centers.
Fadel AbdulGhani, Chairman of SNHR, says:
“we also never recorded one arrest case that was carried out in accordance with a legal arrest warrant. Furthermore, not even one of the families of the victims of torture ever told us that it knew of an investigation that the Syrian regime conducted to find out the cause of death or to exonerate the state that detained the victim. The prevalent methodology and patterns make the torture practices used inside the Syrian regime detention centers crimes against humanity. We are still waiting for the free world to take the next stop in order to protect humanity in Syria, now that this mechanism is exposed.”
The report sheds light on the methods of torture and the conditions inside the detention centers of the Syrian regime, Kurdish Self-management, Extremist Islamic groups, and armed opposition factions.
The survivors talked about the cruel details of what they experienced during their detention and also talked about seeing the death of others due to torture.
The report affirms that the various state institutions coordinate between each other starting with the arrest, and then torture, and then killing, and then hiding the body instead of delivering it to the victim’s family. Thus, the security institution is not the only institution responsible for this process as the hospitals, doctors, technicians and others are also involved. From the investigations we conducted, it seems that this process is done routinely and seamlessly as if we are living with an automated machine for arresting, torturing, killing, and burying people.
SNHR affirms that the Syrian regime has perpetrated crimes against humanity that manifested in torture practices including sexual violence, enforced-disappearance, and murder. After the non-international armed conflict broke out, these crimes are also considered as war crimes.
Also, the report notes that self-management forces detained detainees under extremely harsh conditions and perpetrated torture practices against other parties in the non-international armed conflict that amount to war crimes.
Furthermore, the report recorded a number of deaths due to torture inside detention centers for ISIS. Additionally, Al-Nussra Front carry out torture practices according to unjust rulings as these practices qualify as war crimes.
The report highlights that many of the detention centers are spread across areas under the control of armed opposition factions. Although the practices of torture and beatings inside these detention centers haven’t formed a pattern, it is against other parties in the conflict and may amount to war crimes. These practices have been used mainly on agents and spies who work with the Syrian regime.
The report includes a number of recommendations for the Security Council which emphasized the necessity to implement the resolutions that address the detainees issue in Syria, and to take action under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter in the event of lack of commitment.
Moreover, the report calls on the Support of Syria group to impose sanctions on the individuals and groups involved in the crimes of torture in Syria and provide the survivors of torture and their families with all means of health and psychological support.