The 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
13 June to 8 July 2022
Statement of Meezaan Center for Human Rights and
Geneva International Centre for Justice
Item 6 : Universal Periodic Review - Adoption of the Syrian Arab Republic’s review
30 June 2022
By Yasmine Darwish
Thank you President,
We welcome the Syrian Arab Republic’s acceptance of recommendations to criminalize the use of torture and its commitment torelease all those who are arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared.
However, we remain concerned that despite similar commitments in its previous UPR, there have been no tangible results in the investigation of torture allegations. To date no one has been held accountable despite a high number of such claims.
While we commend the government for passing an anti-torture law on March 30, 2022, we documented the deaths of at least 11 individuals due to torture in detention centers since the issuance of the law. Photos of bodies show signs of starvation, other injuries include burns, bruising, ligature marks indicating strangulation, and signs of electrocution.
We hope to see, as recommended in the report and accepted, the establishment of a national mechanism to identify and hold accountable all perpetrators engaged in human rights violations, especially arbitrary detention, abduction and enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of individuals. The impunity long enjoyed by the security forces who commit these crimes is the main factor perpetuating the massive violations of human rights.
We regret that the Syrian government did not commit to allow independent humanitarian organizations full access to all places of detention. The use of torture in detention centers is widespread against individuals suspected of having participated in demonstrations, journalists, defectors of security forces, women and children. Children are often arbitrarily detained or killed during demonstrations. There are extensive reports of sexual violence committed by public officers against women.
Meezaan and Geneva International Centre for Justicecall on the government to promptly investigate all allegations of torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and excessive use of force andto hold those responsible to account in fair trials.