Paris, 31 August 2022
“On the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance, we welcome the recommendation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to establish an independent international mechanism to reveal the fate of victims of enforced disappearance in Syria.”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations and In the implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. 76/228, was requested to “prepare a study on how to strengthen efforts, including through existing measures and mechanisms, to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons in the Syrian Arab Republic, and identifying human remains and providing support to their families.” After coordinating and working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Today, in conjunction with the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Secretary-General of the United Nations issued the relevant study, stressing unequivocally the need to establish an independent international mechanism to reveal the fate of the forcibly disappeared in Syria.
The recommendation issued today (31 August 2022) by the Secretary-General is considered a victory for the efforts of the victims, their associations, and the Syrian human rights organizations. Lawyer Mazen Darwish said that “the Secretary-General’s recommendation to establish a special mechanism to reveal the fate of the missing in Syria is the culmination of the struggle of the families of the missing and victims and the Syrian civil society, throughout the previous years, and the international community should respond to this recommendation and take practical steps to establish the mechanism.” The number of those documented by the Violations Documentation Project within the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, among the victims of enforced disappearance, reached 90,850 victims, while it is believed that the number of victims is much higher.
Earlier this week (29 August 2022), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a policy paper entitled “The Right to Know and Missing Persons in Syria”, It aims to clarify the definition and scope of the right to know, under both international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and the relationship of this right to violations and the families of missing persons as victims. And established their right to obtain information about their missing persons, and thus contributed to drawing up the scope of the work of the international mechanism recommended by the Secretary-General for its establishment.
On the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression renews its commitment to support victims, whether survivors or families of the missing, and their associations, in their tireless work to reach the truth, and welcomes the recommendation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, establishing the international mechanism that would be a pivotal point in the context of revealing the fate of tens of thousands of forcibly disappeared persons; calls on the international community to put them into action as soon as possible; SCM stresses the fact that any sustainable future political settlement must include addressing and resolving the issue of the missing in Syria, through achieving justice for the victims and their families, with reparation.
SCM also affirms that the right to know the truth is a right for all Syrians, to protect the national memory, and fortify it with knowledge and disclosure, in a manner that ensures collective recognition of the violations as the only way to reconciliation and transitional justice. As well as restoring trust between the different members of Syrian society, and to prevent violence in the future, turning the page of the past and reconciling with it without erasing it or trying to forget it.