The UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic recommended the establishment of a mechanism with an international mandate to reveal the fate of missing and disappeared persons in Syria, adding that “at least 100,000 people are estimated to be missing or to have been disappeared by parties to the conflict.”
In a paper entitled: “Syria’s missing and disappeared: Is there a way forward?”, The Commission of Inquiry called for the mechanism to include basic principles that are independent, neutral, humanitarian, and preserve people’s dignity.
It pointed to the need for it to be international to ensure credibility and success in verifying claims collected by other entities, while ensuring that there are agreements to share information with other parties, in addition to being able to reach places outside Syria, where there are millions of refugees, who are also witnesses and victims.
“There is much that can be done to support victims and survivors in this search and families have waited too long already”, said Mr. Paulo Pinheiro Chairman of the Committee.
He added, “this issue gravely impacts people across the political and geographic spectrum in Syria and the upcoming report of the Secretary-General must lead to concrete action, without further delay.”
“Families’ search for loved ones in Syria is fraught with the danger of being arrested, extorted and abused. Last month, thousands waited in pain and in vain in the streets of Damascus hoping to find their loved ones alive, after the announcement of the Government’s most recent amnesty. Others watched agonizing videos of murders to discover if they were killed, after the recent release of the video allegedly showing summary executions of civilians in Tadamon in 2013”, Commissioner Lynn Welchman said.
She added that “the Government and other parties are deliberately prolonging the suffering of hundreds of thousands of family members by withholding information on the fate of those missing or disappeared. This must not be a reason for resignation but a call to action.”
Since March 18, 2011, a civil war erupted in Syria as the Syrian regime carried out a fierce campaign against protests condemning human rights violations in the country.
Over the past years, the Syrian regime granted citizenship to a large number of Iranian groups to take part in its war against the opposition in 2011.
Millions of displaced people live in camps in north and northwestern Syria after they fled the regime’s bombing of their villages, towns and cities.