Letter from Human Rights Guardians to the Special Envoy to Syria
To the United Nations Special Envoy, Mr. Ger BedrsonCongratulations for your new position as Special Envoy for Syria and wish you success in your difficult task We, the “ Human Rights Guardians “ a human rights organization Concerned in documenting violations, and to monitor and advocate for cases of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and deal with UN mechanisms in Syria since 2014.We’d like to share with you some of the items that we deem necessary for the peace talks in addition to other items issued by our partners, the Syrian Center for Justice and Accountability, in which we agree with them on their vision of the future of the Geneva talks and the peace process in Syria.
To focus on the commitment of all parties to cease fire and to stop targeting civilians and civilian objects:
Still, civilians, children, and women continue to be the most affected since the conflict began according to reports of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, It is now eight years after the revolution beginning that indiscriminate shelling of civilians, children and aid workers must be stopped.
It is important that ceasefire violations cease in the reduce escalation agreements, the cease-fire, and similar agreements.
Condemn torture that accompanies arbitrary detention:
According to testimonies of former detainees in Syrian prisons, hundreds of detainees die either under direct torture or because of inhuman conditions in detention centers, such as deprivation of food, water, medicine and medicine. Their bodies are either burned or buried in mass graves as it was mentioned in the Amnesty’s Reports and in relevant international and local organizations. It must be a clear and deterrent mechanism to prevent the recurrence of these incidents, which are still repeated on a daily and systematic basis. At this point the importance of prosecution, the prohibition and punishment of torture must be highlighted that the prohibition of torture has become a peremptory norm of international law It replaces many customary rules and treaties.
Condemn forced conscription by all parties:
Since the beginning of the protests, all parties of the conflict have begun to seek forced recruitment and recruitment of children and the issue of child recruitment remains a constant concern in Syria. An annual United Nations’ report found that 961 documented cases of child recruitment occurred in Syria in 2017, by an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. Ninety percent of these children have played combat roles, it’s necessary to appeal Russia, the United States and Turkey, as supporters of the conflict parties to press their partners to comply with international legal standards on child protection. The importance of providing psychosocial support and rehabilitation programs as essential steps to ensure that children who have grown up during the conflict will be supported.
Condemn reconciliation agreements that have caused the arrest of more Syrians
Syrian government and Russia have promoted a wide campaign that the conflict ended by promoting reconciliation and truce agreements proving the government’s control of the opposition-controlled areas, resulting by a massive campaign of arrests followed by forced conscription, that all Russian and Syrian efforts to encourage displaced people and refugees to return are not accompanied by real guarantees of safety or trust and lacks any guarantees of the basic rights of Syrian citizens.
Priority should be given to this issue in the context of negotiations under UN Security Council Resolution N: 2254
Support the independent and impartial investigation mechanism:
We heartily recommend that the new Special Envoy focuses his attention on supporting the independent and impartial international mechanism established by a General Assembly resolution to investigate the most serious crimes and atrocities committed in Syria, in which most Syrians see the gate to justice.
To turn negotiations to the Geneva Process:
The Geneva negotiations were a glimmer of hope for the Syrian people to achieve somehow their freedom and dignity. Therefore, we continue to believe that it is so important to reactivate the Geneva Process and the Security Council resolutions, benefiting from the European allies’ support who strongly stand for the Geneva resolutions under the terms of the United Nations.
To focus on the detainees’ matter and the enforced disappearances:
The issue of detainees, the missing persons and disappeared ones is a fundamental issue for building confidence in any future negotiation process. The transfer of detainees file from Geneva to Astana and the Syrian government’s attempt to reveal the fate of some hundred detainees through the issuance of death certificates was a form of evasion of responsibility in pretending that these detainees died due to natural causes as an evading kind of the government and eliminating the problem of enforced disappearance. Here we see the necessity give priority to the access of independent observers to all government and opposition controlled detention centers and the immediate release of innocent people and political prisoners.
Engage the civil society more effectively:
Despite the efforts made by the earlier UN envoy to involve civil society into the negotiations and forming the civil society support room. However, there were something wrong in choosing and accepting organizations and personalities involving in the violations. Therefore, it’s important to have transparency in the selection of organizations and to seek the participation of the most active organizations in Syria and not considering the issue of interaction with civil society as a secondary matter, to consider it an essential one.
Finally, I wish you, Sir, the delegate a useful job with your success in this mission which all the Syrian people will greatly appreciate.
Regards and high respects.