Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has briefed the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on the case of the citizen, Samir Fawzi Ata, born in 1976, from Daraa city, who was a day laborer prior to his arrest, as well as on the case of his wife, Ms. Samar Awad Hussein, born in 1976, a Syrian-Palestinian resident of Daraa city, who was an employee at the Technical Supervisors Institute in Daraa city prior to her arrest. On Monday, October 14, 2013, Syrian regime forces arrested them while they were in the Shamal al Khat neighborhood, next to the tuberculosis treatment clinic facing the Martyr Muhammad Jabr al Falouji High School in Daraa city, on the grounds of their objection to the looting of their home by Syrian regime forces personnel, which took place after these personnel carried out a military operation to demolish a tunnel between Shamal al Khat neighborhood, which is under the control of Syrian regime forces, and the Camp neighborhood, which was at the time under the control of Armed Opposition factions; after completing this operation, Syrian regime forces looted the contents of the houses in the neighborhood. Following their arrest, Samir and Samar were taken to an undisclosed location. Since that date, both have been forcibly disappeared. Their fate remains unknown to the SNHR, as well as to their family.
The SNHR has also briefed the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, as well as briefing the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, specifically in regard to Samir and Samar’s cases.
The Syrian authorities have denied any connection with the enforced disappearance of the citizen, Samir Fawzi Ata and his wife Ms. Samar Awad Hussein. The SNHR has been unable to determine his fate, as have the couple’s family members, who fear that they may be arrested and tortured by regime personnel themselves if they continue to ask about either Samir’s or Samar’s whereabouts and fate, as has happened in numerous previous cases.
The SNHR has called on the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearance, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to intervene and to demand that the Syrian authorities release Samir and Samar immediately, as well as to secure the release of thousands of other forcibly disappeared citizens whose whereabouts and current conditions must also be revealed.
Although the Syrian government is not a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, it is indisputably a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Enforced disappearance constitutes a violation of both instruments.
SNHR also confirms that there are well-founded fears that many of those forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime since 2011 may have been subjected to torture and possibly killed in regime detention, with the number of citizens forcibly disappeared by the regime continuing to grow.