On 18 March 2022, Advocates for Human Rights and Syrians for Truth and Justice presented an oral intervention to the UN Human Rights Council at the Interactive Dialogue with the International Commission of Inquiry. To watch the intervention, you can follow this link.
The Advocates for Human Rights and Syrians for Truth and Justice welcome the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. We thank the Commission for its continued work investigating human rights abuses in Syria.
The last months have shown that violence continues with impunity across Syria and is being committed by multiple state and non-state actors. Military escalations from Al-Hasakah to Idlib have displaced and killed numerous civilians.
In January 2022, we were especially concerned by the Islamic State’s attack on Al-Sina’a prison in Al-Hasakah which displaced thousands of civilians and exposed the vulnerability of Syrian detention centers which currently hold more than 10,000 IS fighters. These detention centers are a ticking time bomb, threatening the stability of Syria and the region as IS attempts to regroup its ranks and resume its activities. We call on the UN to establish an effective working mechanism to ensure that ISIS leaders and members are brought to courts and held accountable for the crimes they have committed, as well as encourage the Commission to monitor these detention sites.
Despite these clear examples that Syria is still unsafe for Syrians to return, we are troubled by Denmark and Turkey’s actions to revoke the work and residency permits of Syrian refugees and asylum seekers. Turkish authorities have deported over 155,000 Syrians from 2019 to 2021. Syrians who have been deported back to Syria have been blackmailed, detained, and mistreated by armed groups. Syrians must be treated with the same humanity as all refugees, and their safety must be guaranteed by the states where they seek refuge.
Finally, we are concerned by reports we have received from inside Syria that Russian officers are asking Syrian security services to register the name of Syrian fighters to fight alongside Russian troops in Ukraine. We call on the Commission to condemn these actions and monitor the recruitment of Syrian fighters for use in foreign conflicts as we have documented and reported on the serious effect mercenarism has on the continued instability in Syria.