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Written by HRDs and Journalists
Syria: Syrian Human Rights Defenders Subjected to Enforced Disappearance
Beirut, 09 June 2012 -- Despite it being outside its mandate, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has decided to adopt cases of human rights defenders in Syria as there is lack of attention to their cases specifically during the current situation.
There are several cases of human rights defenders who have been subjected to enforced disappearance. The following are the cases received by GCHR:
Human rights defender Barraa Bukairati from Damascus was arrested on the 30th of September 2011 by the Airforce Intelligence authority after they raided his home and confiscated his computer. Since his arrest, there has been no information on Mr. Bukairati or his whereabouts, and his family do not know whether he is still alive or dead.
Human rights defender Anas Al-Shaghri was arrested on the 16 of May 2011. There is no confirmed information about whether he is alive or dead, or of his whereabouts.
Human rights defender and journalist Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) was arrested on the 16th of February 2012 by the Airforce Intelligence. Until now his family has no information about his health, and whereabouts.
It has been also not possible to obtain information regarding the whereabouts of human rights defenders, Abdelrahman Hamada, Hussein Ghareer, Mansour Al -Omari, and Hani Zetani, members of the (SCM), who were arrested together with defender Mazen Darwish and detained incommunicado by the Airforce Intelligence.
Non-violence advocate Yahya Al-Sharbaji was arrested on the 6th of September 2011 by the Airforce Intelligence. Until now his family do not know whether he is alive or dead, or of his whereabouts.
The GCHR expresses serious concern for the security and physical and psychological integrity of the abovementioned human rights defenders and believes that their presumed forced disappearance is directly related to their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities in Syria, in particular during the current situation. GCHR believes that this presumed forced disappearance also forms part of a wider campaign of threats and harassment against human rights defenders in Syria in order to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate work.
The GCHR calls on the Syrian government to provide information about the whereabouts of all the detained human rights defenders and that they should be given immediate access to their families and lawyers. The GCHR further calls on the Syrian government to immediately release all those human rights defenders and other political activists in accordance with Syria’s commitments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it has ratified.
The GCHR calls the attention of the authorities in Syrian to the rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” in particular to Article 5 (b) which states that: “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels: (b)To form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups;” Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
strong>Please write immediately in English, Arabic, or your own language to:
- Call on the Syrian authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of all detained human rights defenders and ensure that they have unrestricted access to their family, lawyers; and guarantee that they are protected from any torture or other ill-treatment;
- Urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release detained human rights defenders in Syria and to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges against them as they are being targeted solely for peacefully exercising their legitimate right to do their human rights work;
strong>Please Send Appeals now TO:
President Bashar al-Assad
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Minister Walid al-Mu’allim
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 6251
strong>The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.