In 2011, the Syrian Arab Republic witnessed major popular unrest, which gradually escalated into a full-fledged conflict marked by grave and systematic human rights violations, serious violations of international humanitarian law, the involvement of a number of regional and international parties and the emergence of extremist non-state armed groups. As a result, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and a much larger number injured, dozens of thousands persons went missing, and half of the population has been displaced, either internally or in countries neighbouring to Syria and beyond.
The Syria Office is based in Beirut, Lebanon and operates remotely due to restricted physical access to the country. Its work covers the full range of human rights and rule of law related issues that fall within the protection and promotion mandate of the High Commissioner. The Syria Office is organized around four main components: “Monitoring and Reporting;” “Rule of Law and Transitional Justice;” “Civil Society and Technical Cooperation;” and “Human Rights in Humanitarian Action.”.
The Office monitors and reports on international human rights and humantiarian law violations in Syria, and provides legal analysis and early warning highlighting emerging human rights concerns. The Office provides coordination, capacity building and technical support to Syrian civil society groups in and outside Syria.abroad. The Office also supports the humanitarian leadership in each of the hubs of the Whole of Syria Approach (Damascus, Amman, Gaziantep) with the aim of strengthening the integration of human rights across the humanitarian response of the United Nations. It has also issued numerous legal notes and advocacy papers on a variety of complex international human rights and humanitarian law issues as relevant to the Syrian context.