Civil Society Groups Urge U.N. Rights Boss to Address Tragedy of Disappeared

Dozens of Syrian organizations mark International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance by calling for independent body to investigate violations

Syrian civil society and human rights organizations on Wednesday called on the United Nations human rights chief to address the tragedy of the tens of thousands of Syrians who have been forcibly disappeared since March 2011.

In a joint letter to High Commissioner Zeid Raad al-Hussein, 66 Syrian organizations requested support for an international, impartial and independent mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, the letter highlighted part of the harsh suffering of Syrian families experience due to arbitrary arrest, abduction and arbitrary detention, by the Syrian regime in particular, as well as all other parties to the conflict.

The letter called on the international community to assume its responsibilities and take crucial steps toward reaching a just political solution for the conflicts in Syria, stressing on the need for an immediate end to these practices, releasing all detainees and bringing those responsible for these violations to trial.

The groups expressed their deep sense of pain and disappointment resulting from the international community's neglect and disregard for these crimes that have been used to silence tens of thousands of voices in detention centers during the years of conflict in Syria.

Signatories demanded the cause of the forcibly disappeared and arbitrarily detained in Syria to be considered as a humanitarian crisis, and to be addressed as an indispensable part of the declared "Level 3" humanitarian emergency in Syria.

They also called for exerting all possible pressure on the U.N. Security Council to take all measures to end all crimes and violations committed in Syria; as well as establishing a joint international committee of the United Nations and the Syrian civil society in order to uncover the fate the forcibly disappeared.

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