SNHR Welcomes the UNGA Decision to Establish the Independent Institution on Missing Persons in Syria

Roughly 122,000 Persons Have Been Forcibly Disappeared Since March 2011, Including 96,000 at the Hands of the Syrian Regime

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On Thursday, June 29, 2023, Member States of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted on draft resolution A/77/L.79 providing for the establishment of a UN body with the aim of working on the missing persons issue in Syria. The resolution was approved with 83 states voting in favor, 11 voting against, and 62 states abstaining. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) welcomes the outcome of this resolution, and, as with all previous UN mechanisms, will surely work with the newly formed UN Independent Institution on Missing Persons in Syria.

SNHR has supported all the demands of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI) since its very first report in November 2011 with regard to establishing a UN mechanism with the sole focus of the missing persons issue, including forcibly disappeared persons. In fact, SNHR has worked closely with the COI since the beginning of its mandate. We have worked on a daily basis to document cases of arbitrary arrest for over 12 years, as the majority of which cases have been subsequently categorized as enforced disappearances. We have built a massive database containing roughly the names of 112,000 forcibly disappeared persons, with the Syrian regime being responsible for roughly 86 percent of all enforced disappearance cases. We also have a second database containing victims who have died due to torture, numbered at roughly 16,000 Syrian citizens, in addition to approximately 2,100 death statements issued by the Syrian regime’s civil registry offices. Those statement are for forcibly disappeared persons who died under torture, but the majority of their families have not been informed of their death.

Besides dozens of reports, we have already made this data, which hugely underscore the need for such a UN mechanism, available to the UN. Further, we have submitted a report to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) detailing our vision for this mechanism, in which we also reiterated our willingness to collaborate with a potential UN mechanism should it come to be, which includes supplying it with the information and data we have documented on our databases for the past 12 years.

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