Joint statement: Syrian activists on hunger strike to protest violations in Lebanon

Photo from:
Hunger Strike for Syrian Refugees
إضراب عن الطعام من أجل اللاجئين السوريين

The undersigned partner organisations express full support to Syrian activists currently on hunger strike around the world to expose human rights violations, reported acts of torture and extrajudicial killings, which would have been committed against refugees from Syria over the past two weeks by the Lebanese Army in refugee camps in Arsal. It is urgent that such acts cease immediately and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

The disproportionate use of force could have especially resulted in the deaths of at least four detainees under torture. Attempts to conceal pieces of evidence including confiscation of samples taken from the bodies of those who died in detention were denounced by the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights.

The solidarity hunger strike campaign was launched by Mrs Azza Murtada and Rana Aljundi, Syrian refugees and activists in Amsterdam and Paris, respectively. Over 40 activists have joined the protest and have been on hunger strike for two weeks, calling for:

  • An independent investigation into the incidents at the Arsal refugee camps;
  • An end to the culture of impunity by bringing those responsible for torture and extra judiciary killings against refugees to justice,
  • Ensured protection of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other countries.

Regardless of the ongoing military investigation, our organisations call on the Lebanese authorities to provide victims and their families with the opportunity to obtain redress in civil court with due process. It is of the utmost importance that the Lebanese authorities show no tolerance for such acts of torture. We express our grave concerns that, if not sanctioned and deterred, such acts may reoccur especially against refugees from Syria in Lebanon. The Lebanese authorities must provide genuine protection to civilians, including refugees in Lebanon, in line with their obligations under national and international legislation, namely, the Lebanese Constitution and the Convention against Torture. Lebanon must also abide by human rights principles and the right of individuals irrespective of their nationality to resort to a safe country in accordance with article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Following the EU-Lebanon Association Council of 18 July, the signatory organisations also call on the EU to urge the Lebanese authorities not to implement any premature policy of return of refugees to Syria, where there are no safe zones for civilians. Lebanon must respect its obligations under international law and should not consider returns of refugees as a first step towards building confidence and reconciliation in Syria.

Signatory organisations

  • Assyrian Network for Human Rights
  • Badael
  • Dawlaty
  • EuroMed Rights
  • Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression
  • Syrian Center for Legal Researches and Studies
  • Syrian Center For Statistics and Research
  • Syrian Institute for Justice and Accountability
  • Syrian Network for Human Rights
  • The Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience in Syria
  • The Day After