We’re currently seeing the start of a second wave of the peaceful revolutionary uprising in southern Syria, and its expansion to many other Syrian areas and cities. This has been spurred by the Assad regime’s failure to undertake any political, economic or social reforms or achieve any positive accomplishments in the areas under its control, as well as by its failure to release more than 130,000 detainees who remain until this moment in its prisons, a crime made even more egregious by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the country. In addition, the regime, in cooperation with Russia, Iran and its Shiite sectarian terrorist militias, has failed to reunite families displaced by its military machine, before even mentioning the numerous details and repercussions of the ‘Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019’, which entered into force on July 17th. These and numerous other thorny political and human rights issues, were the topics of our dialogue with Mr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, the founder and chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), which was established in June 2011, following the increase in violations against activists opposing the regime of Hafez Assad’s son, in connection with the extensive peaceful popular protests that broke out in mid-March 2011 against the corrupt, authoritarian regime.
Our guest has worked for nine years in the field of defending human rights in Syria, ever since the start of the popular uprising for democracy in March 2011. He holds a Master’s Degree in International Law from De Montfort University in the UK, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Damascus University. He is an author and co-author of and contributor to numerous reports and investigations, as well as of written and oral presentations concerning the human rights situation in Syria, covering a wide range of issues, including enforced disappearance, torture and sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, the targeting of medical facilities, and the use of chemical weapons and cluster munitions, as well as refugee rights and other subjects. Mr. Abdul Ghany has also spoken frequently at the UN Headquarters, and in the main headquarters of the Human Rights Council, as well as in the European Parliament regarding the vast range of violations and crimes perpetrated against the Syrian people, in addition to delivering lectures at several research centers.
Mr. Abdul Ghany also provides training in the fields of human rights and international humanitarian law for a number of Syrian media and human rights activists, as well as contributing to training a large number of groups within Syrian opposition factions on the rules of customary humanitarian law.
He has also participated in several rounds of Syrian peace talks in Geneva as an independent consultant in the issue of human rights situation in Syria.