A hundred days have passed since the betrayal of the Syrian revolution, which started its fourth year on March 15, 2014. A hundred days since November 09, 2013, the date of the kidnapping of the writer and the human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh, her husband the peaceful activist Wael Hammada, the former political detainee Samira al-Khalil (1987-1991), and the poet and lawyer Nazim Hammadi.
On this day, unidentified veiled men broke into the joint office of the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) and the Local Development and Support of Small Enterprises (LDSPS) in Duma, which is a part of the East Gouta, Damascus suburb. This area is under the control of a number of armed opposition groups and it is surrounded by government troops.
During the one hundred days, the European Union and several international human rights organizations (more than 16 Syrian, Arabic and international organizations) have denounced the kidnapping, and it was also widely condemned by intellectuals and activists – Syrians and Arabs. The kidnapping is a crime against humanity. According to the " Declaration on the Protection all persons from Enforced Disappearance " which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1992, No. 47/133 which mentions the protection afforded the victims in armed conflicts given by Geneva Conventions of August 12 , 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. Its first Article reads: Each act of enforced disappearances is a crime against the human dignity.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression emphasizes the duty of dominant groups (armed and political ) in areas out of governmental control- as East Ghouta – of protecting civilians, and we hold them responsibility for the lives and safety of the four forcibly disappeared. We demand that they disclose their detention location immediately, and referring the kidnappers to trial. The perpetrators should bear all the legal responsibility that is caused by their silence or participation in this crime, as :
– In addition to the applicable penalties, the acts of enforced disappearances must be followed with civil liability for the perpetrators and the civil liability for the state or its authorities that organized, approved or condoned the disappearance acts mentioned.
– May not be invoked by any order or instruction of any public authority, civilian or military, or otherwise to justify an act of enforced disappearance. And everyone receives such orders or instructions has the right not to obey it.
– May not take any circumstances whatsoever, whether a threat of war, a state of war, internal political instability or any other emergency circumstance, as means to justify enforced disappearances.
Materials 5-6-7 – from the Declaration: The Protection of all persons from enforced disappearance.
We also stress the stipulated in the first paragraph of Article 17. ( Each act of the enforced disappearance acts is considered as continuous crime continued as long as the perpetrators continue to be reticent about the fate of the victims of disappearance and there hiding place, and as these facts remain without clarification ).
Note that Razan Zaitouneh is persecuted since the revolution’s first months because of her activity and participation in support of the protests for change in Syria, and later for her work in documenting human rights violations committed by the Syrian government in the context of the conflict in Syria through the " Violations Documentation Center". The harassment and threats finally forced her to move to Ghouta, where she founded the Local Development and Support of Small Enterprises which provides humanitarian assistance, in particular supporting the women in Gouta area.
Zaitouneh, who has won many international awards, graduated from Faculty of Law, Damascus in 2000, and was a member of the defense team for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience since that. In 2005, she founded, " Human Rights Information Link in Syria" to serve as a database system for violations of human rights by Syrian government in the country, as well as the lawyer Nazim Hammadi is known for his voluntary work in defending the detainees in " Damascus Spring " and the " Damascus Declaration ".
The delay of uncovering the fate of the four kidnapped persons, and the continued silence about this action, is a clear violation of both the values and principles that inspired the revolution. It aims to eliminate any civil and peaceful voice as well as the pluralistic nature of the uprising and of Syria. This attack on the revolution and its values is a threat to the future of Syria.
Translated and Edited by The Syrian Observer