Home Press Releases Syrian families urge UN member states to vote for an international body to uncover the fate of their missing loved ones

Syrian families urge UN member states to vote for an international body to uncover the fate of their missing loved ones

Family, victim and survivor groups are urging UN member states to send a clear message to the world that despite the trend towards normalization they will not forget the plight of the tens of thousands of people who remain forcibly disappeared at the hands of Assad’s regime in Syria and other parties to the conflict

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Ten Syrian families, survivors and victim associations that form the Truth and Justice Charter are calling on UN member states to vote in favour of a landmark resolution that would establish a new international institution to uncover the fate and whereabouts of more than 100 000 people forcibly disappeared in Syria – the vast majority of them detained in horrific conditions in the Assad regime’s detention cells and cut off from all contact with the outside world.

Two years after the launch of a campaign to demand the establishment of an international institution for the disappeared at the UN General Assembly level, victims’ associations are about to achieve their goal. They have recently gained significant global support, notably after the UN Secretary-General’s August 2022 report setting out a clear path to addressing the issue. The call has also been backed by more than 100 Syrian and international civil society organizations and victims’ associations accross the world. The vote on the resolution is due to take place at the UN General Assembly on 29 June.

An independent victim-centred institution for Syria’s forcibly disappeared would act as a centralized hub to gather and streamline all existing data relating to those missing and coordinate with other existing mechanisms to determine the whereabouts of those disappeared and locate and identify the remains of those no longer alive. It would also provide vital support to victims, survivors and their families.

All parties to the conflict in Syria have resorted to arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance to crack down on opponents and silence critical voices. Faced with this reality, the families of the missing have been left to fend for themselves. Addressing the issue of missing persons in Syria by setting up an independent humanitarian institution for the disappeared would strengthen the efforts of the families and associations of the victims in order to find out the fate of their loved ones and their families and to release those who are still alive and to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace in Syria. It would also rebuild our confidence in the international community and the United Nations and revive hope in the hearts of tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, children and partners of those missing.

In recent months, Assad’s reinstatement to the Arab League and rehabilitation on the diplomatic stage makes it all the more crucial to keep a spotlight on crimes against humanity such as mass enforced disappearance.

Family, victim and survivor groups are urging UN member states to send a clear message to the world that despite the trend towards normalization they will not forget the plight of the tens of thousands of people who remain forcibly disappeared at the hands of Assad’s regime in Syria and other parties to the conflict. Sustainable peace in Syria will not be possible without resolving the issue of missing persons.

 

The 10 families and survivors associations forming the Truth for Justice Charter are:
  1. The Association of Detained and Missing Persons in Sednaya Prison
  2. Caesar Families Association
  3. Coalition of Families of Persons Kidnapped by ISIS (Massar)
  4. Families for Freedom
  5. the Ta’afi Initiative
  6. Families for Truth and Justice
  7. Adraa Detainees Association
  8. Hevdestî – Synergy Association For Victims
  9. Release-me
  10. General Union of Detainees

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