NEW YORK, 28 November 2018 – In the wake of recent information released by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic on the deaths of numerous detained and/or missing persons, the Commission of Inquiry stresses the need for the Syrian State to account for the fate and whereabouts of detained and missing individuals countrywide.
In a brief advocacy paper released today, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic highlights how numerous families learned the fate of their fathers, spouses, and sons for the first time in May 2018, when State entities including the Military Police corps of the Syrian Arab Army provided Government civil registry offices with information in bulk that individuals were deceased.
“The release this year of what may amount to thousands or tens of thousands of names of allegedly deceased detainees and/or missing persons is unprecedented,” said Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro. “Whenever a person known to be in State custody dies, the burden is primarily on the State to prove that his/her death did not result from acts or omissions attributable to it. Each custodial death must be independently investigated, and the results must be publicly reported,” he continued.
The Commission further recommends the Syrian State to take a number of essential steps to address the most pressing concerns of both the victims and their families on this matter, including acknowledging the truth about how victims perished, revealing the whereabouts of their remains, and promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and independently investigating all custodial deaths, as well as deaths resulting from summary or extrajudicial executions.
The advocacy paper is scheduled to be released prior to the Commission’s briefing to the United Nations Security Council during an Arria-Formula meeting later today.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which comprises Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, and Mr. Hanny Megally has been mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic.