On Friday, January 22, 2021, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) organized an event, sponsored by Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, on SNHR’s Ninth Annual Report on Violations against Children in Syria, which was broadcast on the Zoom platform and the SNHR’s official accounts on social media platforms, with participants including:
Mr. Martin Leeser, Syria team, the German Embassy in Beirut; Dr. Troels Gauslå Engell, Senior Stabilisation Advisor on Syria to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Paula Sastrowijoto, Deputy Syria Envoy, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Lina Biscaia, Senior Legal Officer, Sexual and Gender-Based Crimes and Crimes against Children Unit, United Nations Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh/ISIL; Mr. Javier Perez Salmeron, Justice Rapid Response Child Rights Expert Roster, former Child Rights Advisor to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syria Arab Republic; Professor Diane Marie Amann, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law; and Mr. Fadel Abdul Ghany, Chairman, Syrian Network for Human Rights. The session was moderated by Ms. Valentina Falco, Team Leader – Child Protection, United Nations Department of Peace Operations, and former chief investigator at the International Commission of Inquiry in Syria.
The event focused on answering the following main questions:
• What is the role of grave violations against children in the broader strategy of warring parties in Syria? How to situate these violations in the overall trajectory of the Syrian conflict over the past ten years?
• What type of support can be provided to children and their families?
• What are the overall impact and long-term effects of these violations on Syria’s children and on the Syrian society as a whole? And what are their implications for the political process and the overall stability and security of the country?
• Why has the international community failed to take any action to end violations of children’s rights thus far, despite their appalling scale and gravity?
• In addition to political and economic sanctions, and criminal cases filed under the principle of universal jurisdiction, which other tools are available to pressure the Syrian regime and all parties to the conflict in Syria to end the atrocious violations against children documented in the SNHR report? How to foster effective accountability for these violations? And what is the role Syrian and international organizations can play?