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SNHR Gives a Briefing to the Portuguese Parliament on the State of Human Rights in Syria

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Fadel Abdul Ghany, SNHR Director, gives a briefing to the Portuguese Parliament on the State of human rights in Syria – February 3, 2023 | By: Canal Palamento (ARTV)

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On Friday, February 3, 2023, Fadel Abdul Ghany, Executive Director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), gave a briefing before the Portuguese Parliament, in which he shed light on the current state of human rights in Syria and the most notable violations committed by the parties to the conflict and controlling forces during 2022, most notably the Syrian regime.

In the briefing, Mr. Abdul Ghany stressed that the cumulative impact of the violations perpetrated in Syria over the course of the past 12 years has had a catastrophic effect on the already parlous human rights conditions in the country. While there was a reduction in the rate of some of these crimes’ frequency in 2022, he noted, many types of violations continue to be routine; these include, but are not limited to, killing, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, forced displacement, torture, theft and pillaging of lands and properties, and the ongoing state of rampant insecurity that has created a fertile environment for assassinations and killings through remote bombings.
In 2022, SNHR documented the killing of 1,057 civilians, including 251 children and 94 women (adult female), six medical personnel, and three media workers, while 133 individuals died due to torture. Also in 2022, SNHR recorded no fewer than 2,221 arbitrary arrests, whose victims included 148 children and 457 women.
Due to the ongoing nature of these violations which undermine the very foundations of human rights and human dignity, and with no hope or possibility of putting an end to them or holding their perpetrators accountable in the foreseeable future, hundreds more Syrians are trying to sell their properties, flee the country, and seek asylum in different parts of the world. Conversely, the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees now scattered around the world will not consider returning to Syria; on the contrary, most of those remaining there are desperately seeking any way to flee the nation which has become an unhabitable country with no respect for the most fundamental human rights. Those conditions have also taken their toll on the economy which has continued to collapse, he explained, with inflation rates soaring compared even to last year alone. Today, Syria is ranked among the world’s worst countries on numerous metrics, including those of many basic human rights.
The SNHR founder added that the root of the problem in Syria is despotism and the refusal of the ruling powers to enable a democratic transition of power beyond the autocratic ruling Assad family, which has ruled Syria as a hereditary dictatorship for decades. Furthermore, he explained, the local de facto authorities also refuse any form of local democracy. Mr. Abdul Ghany also stressed that the ongoing violations afflicting the country, especially those practiced in a widespread and systematic manner, cannot be stopped without bringing about a political transition to democratic government, with such a transition requiring the involvement of all the parties to the conflict and their backer states, with responsibility for this falling on the shoulders of the international community and the UN Security Council.
Mr. Abdul Ghany called on the Portuguese Parliament to apply pressure on the Portuguese government to play a more actively involved role in the Syrian issue, particularly in the human rights sphere, so that the voice of the Portuguese government can reach the Syrian people who are fighting to bring about a transition from dictatorship to freedom and democracy.
After Mr. Abdul Ghany’s briefing, the parliamentary parties gave their input and directed inquiries to him, which he answered, referring to SNHR’s data, in keeping with SNHR’s vision centered on the vital importance of accountability and democratic transition.
Moreover, on the sidelines of the parliamentary session, Mr. Abdul Ghany was interviewed by correspondents for two newspapers Público and Diário de Notícias, which are among the most prominent newspapers in Portugal.
In his interview with Público, which took place before the parliament session, Mr. Abdul Ghany talked about the topic of the Russian intervention in Syria and Ukraine from the perspective of international law, whereas, in his interview with Diário de Notícias, he focused on the vital importance of holding the Syrian regime accountable for the violations it has committed against the Syrian people, including the repeated use of chemical weapons, and on the international community’s responsibility for supporting the Syrian people and their rightful demands. Mr. Abdul Ghany also shed light during this second interview on Russia’s and Iran’s role in supporting the crimes of Bashar Assad and enabling him to remain in power up to the present day, despite the fact that the regime has committed crimes against humanity and killed over 200,00 civilians, including 14,000 due to torture, as well as arresting roughly 135,000 others.

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