The Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2024 highlights a series of significant human rights concerns in Syria amidst an ongoing economic crisis. The report paints a grim picture of the situation, particularly for civilians who continue to suffer from abuses by various parties involved in the conflict.
In 2023, Syrian civilians faced numerous grave abuses, primarily perpetrated by the Syrian government and other conflict parties. This includes the targeting of a displaced persons’ camp near Idlib city, resulting in severe destruction.
The HRW report says over 90% of Syrians are living below the poverty line, indicating a severe humanitarian crisis. The economic collapse, aggravated by regional instabilities and international sanctions, has made necessities unaffordable for millions.
Despite the ongoing hostilities and unsafe conditions in Syria, HRW says, countries hosting Syrian refugees, such as Turkey and Lebanon, have been conducting unlawful deportations. Human Rights Watch stresses that these countries should not repatriate refugees to Syria under the current circumstances.
Syrian security forces in government-controlled regions are reportedly involved in arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, and harassment. This is further complicated by the government’s mismanagement of aid and resources, the report adds.
The report mentions notable international actions, such as the case filed by the Netherlands and Canada at the International Court of Justice against Syria for violating the International Convention Against Torture. Additionally, despite Syria being readmitted to the Arab League, international sanctions continue, aiming to pressure the Syrian government.
The Syrian-Russian military forces have been conducting indiscriminate attacks in Idlib, including using prohibited weapons. In Northeast Syria, controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), issues like arbitrary detentions and poor detention conditions, particularly for ISIS suspects and their families, are highlighted.
The report also criticizes the UN Security Council for failing to renew the cross-border aid mechanism for Syria due to Russia’s veto.
HRW calls to action
Adam Coogle, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch, emphasizes the urgent need for protection and humanitarian aid for Syrian civilians. He urges governments to uphold their human rights obligations and refrain from returning refugees to Syria under the current unsafe conditions.
This report underscores the complex and multifaceted nature of the Syrian crisis, highlighting the need for sustained international attention and action to address the ongoing human rights violations and humanitarian needs.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.