Antakya/ Turkey 28/7/2021
Human rights guardians participate in the Universal Periodic Review team with a report on enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention.
About the universal periodic review:
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process that includes a review of the human rights records of all UN member states. It is a state-led process that takes place under the supervision of the Human Rights Council and takes place every four and a half years for each of the first members of the UN. The UPR is an opportunity for states and other parties, including civil society and specialized UN agencies to assess the measures taken by the state to improve the human rights situation in the country and to issue recommendations for the future.
The UPR comes after four years of suffering and lack of progress in the field of human rights in Syria as an opportunity for us as interested parties to present our report on the issues of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention and its progress:
Government and allied forces carried out indiscriminate and direct attacks on civilians Security forces arbitrarily arrested civilians and former combatants who had reconciled with the government and continued to detain tens of thousands of people, including peaceful activists, humanitarian aid workers, lawyers, and journalists, subjecting many to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, and causing deaths in custody.
Until 2021, the date of writing this report, the Syrian government forces did not stop prosecuting citizens against the background of their political opposition and their views guaranteed by the constitution. Rather, the arrests and enforced disappearances of the supporters themselves targeted just for their criticism of the living and economic conditions in their country in areas controlled by government forces.
The number of forcibly disappeared persons at the hands of government forces has increased since the last review from 71,533 people to 84,371 disappeared, which is the equivalent of 3,200 cases each year – according to reports by the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
360 families of the victims’ relatives commissioned the Human Rights Guardians Organization to search for their relatives by writing to the team on enforced disappearance. Indeed, the human rights Guardians sent 360 complaints to the team on enforced disappearance. The government refused to cooperate with the team and give it any clarification regarding most of these cases.
Civilians, human rights defenders, political activists and aid workers are subject to arbitrary detention, tried under exceptional laws, and subsequently forcibly disappeared.
Arrests in Syria take place without a warrant when the victim passes a checkpoint or during raids, and the security forces of the four main intelligence agencies are often responsible for arrests outside the judicial authority.
The detainee is subjected to torture from the first moment of his arrest, and he is deprived of communication with his family or lawyer. The authorities also deny carrying out arbitrary arrests, and most detainees are forcibly disappeared.
Since the last review until today, the Syrian government and its security branches have detained 14,548 people, at a rate of 3,637 cases each year, according to the annual reports of arbitrary detention issued by the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
The arrests and prosecutions took place mainly for people who settled their security situation in the areas that signed reconciliation / settlement agreements with the Syrian government forces, and the arrests were concentrated in the governorates of Damascus countryside and Daraa.
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