United Nations General Assembly Votes in Favor of Establishing an Independent Institution on Missing Persons in Syria

Members of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favor of Resolution No A/77/L.79 on Thursday, June 29, 2023, which recommends the establishment of an Independent Institution for Missing Persons in the Syrian Arab Republic in a way that contributes to strengthening efforts and measures to reveal the fate and whereabouts of missing persons, and to identify human remains, and support the right of the families and relatives of the victims to know the truth after years of loss and uncertainty while providing them with support.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) welcomes the decision of the UNGA to establish the Independent Institution for Missing Persons in the Syrian Arab Republic as a historic victory for all the work that was done by survivors, the families of victims and their associations, and Syrian human rights organizations. This decision is considered a basic starting point in order to uncover the fate of tens of thousands of forcibly disappeared and missing persons in Syria. SCM renews its commitment to support all victims of enforced disappearance and the missing, their families and their associations, regardless of their whereabouts or the parties responsible for their disappearance.

Lawyer Mazen Darwish, general director of SCM said: “this decision is a real glimmer of hope and a first step that requires genuine cooperation and hard work from all local and international parties in order for it to successfully achieve the right to knowledge and truth. A first step to finding fair solutions to the issue of the forcibly disappeared and missing and a real opportunity to sustainable peace in Syria.”

SCM also calls on the international community and all parties to the conflict in Syria to mobilize full support for the implementation of the decision to establish the independent institution and to start its work as soon as possible, in order to contribute to revealing the fate of the forcibly disappeared and missing persons in Syria.

SCM reaffirms the significance of the enforced disappearance issue as an inevitable source for any sustainable peace to be achieved in Syria as it guarantees the restoration of trust between all segments of society and prevents the occurrence of future violence. It also guarantees the right of all members of society to know the truth in a manner that preserves the national memory and collectively recognizes the occurrence of violations whose victims ended up missing. It would also ensure that future generations will be informed of the events during which the missing persons and their families suffered. This would act as a prelude to a national path of transitional justice and one of the ways to turn the page on the past and reconcile with it without erasing it or attempting to deny the rights of the victims.