In the six years that war has ravaged their country, the Syrian people have fallen victims to almost every crime imaginable. They’ve been massacred, tortured, bombed and subjected to chemical weapons. But there is one crime that, until now, has remained hidden under a thick veil of silence: child rape. And yet, in the prisons run by the Syrian regime, at checkpoints and during raids, the forces of the regime are taking advantage of the chaos to abuse the children of the opposition in total impunity.
In 2014, in a publication by the UN Secretary General on “children and armed conflict in Syria”, UN investigators don’t hesitate to state that “this violence [against children] serves to humiliate, wound, obtain forced confessions or to pressure a parent to turn himself in.” In the prisons run by the Syrian regime, at checkpoints or during raids, if the settings vary, the strategy stays the same. A former director of Aleppo’s civilian prison confirms: “Sometimes, the orders were literally ‘Drag this person out of his home. If he isn’t there, you can take anyone– his wife, his daughters. And we’ll keep them until the man who we are looking for turns himself in’.”
In Syria, the rape of children – indiscriminately girls and boys – has thus become a “weapon” in the service of the repressive machinery of the regime. This strategy was deliberately put in place as demonstrated by the investigative report we published on Mediapart.
As determined producers and filmmakers, we believe that everyone has a responsibility to change the mentalities and systems that perpetuate impunity. Because those in power have not lived up to the challenge of recognizing the serious mistakes of the past. ZERO IMPUNITY movement working so that these crimes do not go unpunished and happen again.
In order to build the basis for international legal action, it is essential to request the first independent investigation led by the United Nations into sexual violence against children in Syria.
This petition will be delivered to:
- United Nations
- United Nations Security Council
- António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations)
- Letitia Anderson (UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict)
You can sign the petition from here