This bus travels across Europe, raising awareness for the 200,000 people detained in Syria
Analysis by PMOI/MEK
N.Y. Aug 12, 2019 - At a United Nations Security Council briefing on August 7 covering detainees and missing persons in Syria by the Assad regime, horrific and tragic stories of tortures, executions and barbaric treatments of hundreds of thousands of detainees were revealed.
The council heard remarks by two Syrian human rights activists and themselves the victims of the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s brutal imposed civil war on the defenseless Syrian population.
At the briefing, Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.N. political chief repeated the UN Security Council’s call for the release of all those arbitrarily detained and to provide information to families about their loved ones as required by international law.
DiCarlo also reiterated U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for the Syria conflict to be referred to the International Criminal Court, saying accountability for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law “is central to achieving and maintaining durable peace in Syria.”
The council meeting, initially requested by the United States, offered a rare opportunity for the U.N.’s most powerful body to hear directly from families of the detained.
Dr. Hala Al Ghawi and Amina Khoulani, who both campaign for freedom and justice for Syrian detainees, criticized the council for its failure to end the war and urged its deeply divided members to adopt a new resolution to pressure all warring parties to reveal the names and whereabouts of all those detained — and release all those arbitrarily detained.
Also present at the council was Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, Acting Permanent Representative of U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Dr. Hala Al Ghawi holds a photograph of one of her colleagues' children who was detained
Dr. Hala Al Ghawi, Bayan Shurbaji, Noura Ghazi Al Safadi, Amina Khoulani and Asmaa Al Saqqa held a peaceful protest outside the UK Houses of Parliament
Ambassador Cohen welcomed Dr. Hala and Ms. Amina to the briefing thanking them for sharing their stories with the council members. He also applauded their extraordinary courage for speaking out about these horrific abuses that innocent Syrian families have endured at the direction of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his infamous intelligence apparatus.
Mr. Cohen said the issue of detainees and missing persons in Syria is one of the great tragedies of the Syrian conflict.
“It is difficult to find any Syrians who have not been affected by this systematic practice. In August 2013, a military defector code-named Caesar smuggled over 53,000 photographs out of Syria of over 6,700 victims of torture who died in Syrian regime custody. These photographs have been independently verified and represent damning evidence of the systematic torture that is present in Assad’s prisons,” Mr. Cohen said during his comments to the Security Council.
Peaceful protesters flocked outside UK Parliament House to raise awareness of those detained in Syria
“We have heard again and again from Syrian civilians that the fate of those who disappeared at the Assad regime’s hands is foremost on their minds when considering both the prospects of a return to Syria – for those who have fled the country – and the vision for a political solution. Syrians deserve to know the truth about what has happened to their family members, to receive justice for what they have endured, and to gain assurances that they and future generations of Syrians can live without fear of being arbitrarily detained, tortured, or disappeared by their own government,” Mr. Cohen added. “That is why we have called this meeting today. There is both a humanitarian and apolitical imperative for improving transparency and access to regime prisons and securing the release of those Syrian civilians arbitrarily detained by the regime. The issue of detainees is central”.
Resolution 2254 calls for the “release of any arbitrarily detained persons, particularly women and children.” There can be no political solution, no stability in Syria without the reversal of these abhorrent practices, and guarantees that responsible regime officials will be held accountable for their actions.
Ambassador Cohen added that “Since 2011, Syrian documentation groups estimate that as many as 215,000 persons, including 35,000 prisoners of conscience, have been detained—the vast majority by the regime – and 14,000 have been killed as a result of torture, including 177 children. Nearly 128,000 people are currently detained by the Syrian regime, including doctors, humanitarian aid workers, human rights defenders, journalists, and others including women and children.
“These numbers have been widely documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry and other reputable organizations. We have all seen reports of specific detention centers – including Military Intelligence Branches 215, 227, 235, and 251; the Air Force Intelligence Investigation Branch in Mezzeh military airport; and Sednaya prison – and the names of some of the senior regime officials who are responsible for murder, rape, torture, and other mistreatment in such centers.
“We cannot come to a political solution described in Resolution 2254 until these practices end. Therefore, today, the United States calls for the immediate, unilateral release of civilians – including women, children, and the elderly – held in Assad regime prisons in an effort to pave the path forward to the implementation of Resolution 2254.
“To Amina Khoulani, Dr. Al-Ghawni, and the hundreds of thousands of Syrians affected by the Assad regime’s practice of arbitrary detention, torture, disappearance, and killing, the United States stands with you in your pursuit of justice and will spare no effort to bring the regime’s torture to a halt. The Syrian people deserve an end to their suffering, a pathway to justice, and the chance to live in peace,” Mr. Cohen concluded.