On Thursday, June 1, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) announced that it had provided a comprehensive report to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances at the United Nations regarding the distressing case of Mrs. Mayada Burhan Wakeel. Prior to her arrest, Mrs. Wakeel served as a housewife. Regrettably, she was detained by regime forces. Mrs. Wakeel, born in 1976, resided in the village of Chtoura in the Zahle district, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon, along with her five children, all of whom hail from the city of Idleb.
In their statement, the SNHR explained that the woman and her children were apprehended on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at a regime forces checkpoint in the city of Homs while returning from Lebanon. Subsequently, they were taken to an undisclosed location. Since that distressing incident, they have been victims of enforced disappearance, leaving the SNHR and their families deeply concerned about their well-being.
The SNHR has also briefed several United Nations Special Rapporteurs on this case, including the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This effort aims to raise awareness and garner support in uncovering the truth surrounding the plight of Ms. Mayada Burhan Wakeel and her five children.
It is disheartening to note that the Syrian regime has denied any knowledge of the disappearance of Mrs. Wakeel and her children. Unfortunately, the SNHR has been unable to ascertain their fate thus far, and their families have also been left in a state of uncertainty and anguish.
She expressed deep concerns, based on past experiences in similar cases, that repeated questioning could lead to their arrest and torture, as has tragically occurred in numerous instances.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights has appealed to several international bodies, including the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Their urgent intervention with the Syrian regime is sought to secure the immediate release not only of Mrs. Mayada Burhan Wakeel and her children but also of the thousands who have been forcibly disappeared, emphasizing the crucial need to ascertain their fate.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights has underscored the grave concerns over the potential for torture and even loss of life through such means since 2011, as enforced disappearances continue to mount in number.
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.