Ten years after the Assad regime first brutally repressed peaceful protests calling for reform, the Assad regime continues to arbitrarily arrest and forcibly disappear civilians to terrorize the Syrian population and crush dissent. Although armed groups and terrorist organizations like ISIS have also used detention and forced disappearance to intimidate and coerce communities under their control, the Syrian regime is responsible for the vast majority of cases, with at least 149,000 individuals still detained or missing according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights’ database.
Despite the Syrian regime’s ongoing campaign of arbitrary detention and torture, obstruction of the political process, and blocking of humanitarian aid, some states have taken steps to legitimize the Assad regime despite no progress being made toward achieving a political resolution to the conflict or in resolving key issues such as securing the release of arbitrarily detained Syrians and the provision of information on the status of the missing.
The repercussions of forced disappearance are not limited to the victims themselves, but also extend to their families, who suffer from having lost their loved ones, not knowing their fates, and having no legal recourse. In response, victims and their families have organized to demand answers and accountability, launching the Truth and Justice Charter in February 2021, which seeks to present a victim-centered, comprehensive vision and set of demands for detainees and their families.
The international community must remain united in demanding progress on the detainee issue which is an essential component of efforts to secure a political resolution and lasting peace in Syria.
The online event will focus on the following questions:
• How is progress on the issue of detainees and missing persons linked to the prospect for peace in Syria and the political process under UN Security Council Resolution 2254?
• How can the international community increase pressure on the Syrian regime and its allies to reveal the fate of forcibly disappeared persons and release detainees?
• What role can states and the UN play in support of former detainees and the families of missing and detained persons?
• In the absence of concessions by the Assad regime to release detainees, allow INGO access to detention centers, and provide information on the status of forcibly disappeared individuals, what steps can the international community take to achieve progress and generate momentum on these issues?
Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State
François Sénémaud, Personal Representative of the President of the French Republic, Ambassador for Syria
Jonathan Hargreaves, UK Special Representative for Syria
Yasmin al Mashaan, Founding member of Caesar Families Association, in charge of Communication and Coordination
Khalil al Haj Saleh, Massar organization (Coalition of Families of Persons Kidnapped by ISIS)
Fadel Abdul Ghany, Executive Director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights
Naomi Kikoler, Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
To participate directly on Zoom, please sign up using the following link.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.
To watch the live broadcast on social media platforms:
For any additional information, please contact Mr. Abdulla Bassam
(+905312502092; [email protected]).