One hundred thousand Syrians have been detained or have disappeared since the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011. Enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity that has become a daily reality in Syria, a reality that has laid a heavy burden on the country and its people alike. Since last June, the Syrian government has been issuing death notices for detainees at an unprecedented rate by updating their civil records. This indirect move to resolve the fate of the thousands of missing Syrians has been regarded by many as the regime’s way to close the file of detention in Syria, at any cost.
Survivors of detention and families of the disappeared have come together to organize themselves and advocate for their priorities and demands. Four such groups are now demanding greater action from the international community, in particular from the European Union, on the eve of the Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria on March 12-14, 2019.
Ahmad Helmi, a nonviolent activist, was detained for three years for his activism in nine different prisons and intelligence branches. Ahmad is the founder of Ta'afi, a Syrian program to support and protect survivors of political detention.
Mariam Hallak, a school teacher for 25 years, is the mother of Doctor Ayham Ghazoul whose picture she found in the leaked Caesar photos two years after his arrest. Mariam is a founding member of the Caesar Families Association.
Amina Khoulani, a long-time civil society activist, fled Syria in 2014 after her release from prison. Amina’s three brothers were detained by the Syrian regime. She has confirmed the death of all three in detention. She believes they were executed. Amina is a founding member of Families for Freedom.
Habib Nassar, Director of Policy and Research at Impunity WatchEvent Report