Sixyears ago, the joint office of the VDC, LDSPS and Rising for Freedom in Doumain Eastern Ghouta (north of Damascus) was raided by armed men who abducted fourhuman rights defenders, Razan ZAITOUNEH, Wael HAMADA, Samira ALKHALIL and NazimHAMMADI. The parties controlling the region have changed and tens of thousandsof people have been displaced, but the fate of our colleagues remains unknown.
Forthem and for thousands of forcibly disappeared and detainees in Syria, today,we, the undersigned organizations, renew our commitment to work in everypossible way to reveal their fate and defend their rights to justice andaccountability. We pledge to fight impunity, as a basic guarantee for buildinga democratic state based on the separation of powers, the protection of humanrights and citizenship, a state governed by law.
Asefforts continue to be made to achieve truth, justice and accountability fortheir abductors and those who perpetrated major crimes against humanity inSyria, the de facto authorities in diverse regions of Syria retain theirpolicies of using forced disappearance and arbitrary detention as their mainpractice to hide their crimes by committing more crimes. As parties to theconflict continuously keep on marginalizing and making Human Rights Defendersdisappear, paths towards a political solution are accelerating.
Weremind the parties and guarantors of the political solution negotiations inSyria that revealing the fate of the missing, releasing the detainees, ensuringjustice and holding the perpetrators of major crimes against humanityaccountable is the best guarantee to end the culture of impunity and lay thefirst cornerstone for any future stability and peace in Syria and the region.
Fromhere, we, the undersigned organizations, emphasize the following:
- Wewill continue to defend the fundamental rights of all Syrian citizens, seektruth and establish justice and work to hold those responsible for major crimesaccountable.
- Wewill continue to pursue the establishment of a transparent, fair and nationalaccountability mechanism with international guarantees that investigate crimesand ensure accountability, reparation, and non-repetition, as only thisguarantee will ensure a sustainable peace in Syria.
- Wereaffirm our call on the countries and guarantors involved in the building of apolitical solution in Syria to face their responsibilities towards producing apolitical solution that establishes sustainable peace. By giving priority torestoring trust between parties to the conflict, first and foremost we urgethose responsible to reveal the fate of the disappeared and detained in Syria,and pressure all parties of the conflict to commit to justice and cooperate.
- We call upon the internationalcommunity and the United Nations to fulfill their responsibilities to defendhuman rights and work hard to uncover the fate of the missing and detained inSyria, and ensure the freedom and safety of human rights defenders in order toensure the launch of a political process that establishes a democratic state inSyria.
For the full list of signatories, please see the full statement here.