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Urgent Interventions

Syria: Harassment against Mr. Radwan Ziadeh

SYR 004 / 0606 / OBS 083
Obstacles to freedom of movement

June 29, 2006

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Syria.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources that Mr. Radwan Ziadeh, Director of the Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies, was prevented by security forces from leaving Syria on June 26, 2006.

According to the information received, on this date, Mr. Ziadeh was travelling from Damascus to Amman (Jordan) in order to participate in an international conference entitled « Human rights within the framework of Criminal Justice: current challenges and needed strategies in the Arab World », organised by the Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) from June 27 to 29, 2006. In this regard, Mr. Ziadeh was supposed to make an intervention on the transitional justice in the Arab World.

At the border between Syria and Jordan, the Syrian security forces prevented him from entering the country, without any official motive. Mr. Ziadeh was just told that he « should go to the General Security Administration », also called Al-moukhabarat.

The same day, members of the Syrian political security came to Mr. Ziadeh’s house, who had already left, and asked his brother about the reasons of his travel to Jordan. The latter refused to say anything.

The Observatory strongly condemns this new step in the harassment against human rights defenders in Syria, which only aims at muzzling their freedom of expression.

The Observatory recalls that this restriction on Mr. Ziadeh’s freedom of movement is a violation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular of its article 5 (c), which states that “for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at national and international levels (...) to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organisations”, article 6 (b) regarding the right “to freely publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, and article 6(c) with respect to the right “to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”.

Action requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities and urge them to:
i. Put an end to all forms of harassment and restrictions against Mr. Ziadeh, as well as against all human rights defenders in Syria, and guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders and organisations are able to carry out their work, including through participation in international human rights events;

ii. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its article 1, which states that “every person has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international level”, as well as the above-mentioned articles 5 and 6;

iii. More generally, ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Syria in accordance with international human rights standards.

Addresses :

  • M. Bashar al-ASAD, President of the Republic, Presidential Palace, Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/ Fax : + 963 11 33 23 410
  • Général Basam ABD AL-MAJID, Ministry of the Interior, Merjeh Circle, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/Fax : +963 11 222 34 28; Email:
  • M. Muhammad al-GHAFRI, Ministry of Justice, Al Nasr street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/Fax : +963 11 224 62 50
  • M. Walid MU’ALLIM, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: + 963 11 332 76 20
  • His Excellence Ambassador Mr. Bashar JA’AFARI, Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue de Lausanne 72 (3rd floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 715 45 60, Email:
  • Ambassador Mr. Badi Khattab, Diplomatic Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic in Brussels, 1 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 554 19 22; Fax: + 32 2 648 14 85

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Syria in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, June 29, 2006

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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