The 50th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
13 June to 8 July 2022
Statement of Meezan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice
Item 4: Interactive Dialogue on oral update of Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
29 June 2022
Delivered by Sarah Tayara
Thank you, President.
We share the Commission’s concerns regarding arbitrary detentions in Syria. Tens of thousands of civilians remain illegally detained in Syria’s ‘notorious’ prisons and detention centres.
To be detained in Syria is to be missing. It is to be subjected to torture, and inhumane and degrading treatment with little hope of being found. Arbitrary detentions are used as a means of prolonging the suffering of hundreds of thousands of family members by withholding information on the fate of their loved ones.
In the words of Mohammad, a refugee I met when travelling to refugee camps in Tripoli, Lebanon in July 2021 whose father, brother and 4-year-old nephew were detained: “knowing they were detained meant knowing they were suffering.”
In May 2022, thousands waited in pain in the streets of Damascus hoping to find their loved ones alive after the Government’s most recent amnesty. Others watched agonizing videos of murders to discover if they were killed following the release of the footage showing civilian executions in Tadamon in 2013.
Meezan Center for Human Rights and GICJ call upon all parties to immediately release all arbitrarily detained civilians. We support the commission’s recommendation for the establishment of an international mechanism for locating those arbitrarily detained and reuniting them with their loved ones. Arbitrary detentions are a stain on the conscience of both the Syrian authorities and the international community. We must act now on behalf of tens of thousands of Syrian victims which have been left to fall through the cracks of the brutal conflict.