Syria: UN should establish a mechanism for missing and disappeared people

The ICJ called on the UN Human Rights Council today to establish a mechanism for missing and disappeared people in Syria during the dialogue with the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The ICJ supported the extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria in April 2022. The COI’s last report documented grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that have continued to be committed across the country with impunity, including those amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tens of thousands of individuals forcibly disappeared by government forces remain missing. Syrian authorities have been deliberately concealing the fate and whereabouts of those they have forcibly disappeared, a practice that continues to inflict cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on their relatives.

The ICJ calls upon this Council and its Member States to create an independent mechanism with an international mandate to coordinate and consolidate claims regarding missing persons, including persons potentially subjected to enforced disappearances.

This mechanism is necessary to assist the victims’ families in their quest to establish of the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of their missing and forcibly disappeared relatives, and in their pursuit of justice, accountability and remedies.

To fill the accountability gap in Syria, the ICJ also reiterates its call on this Council and its Member States to act individually and collectively by exercising universal or extra-territorial jurisdiction over crimes under international law committed in the country.

I thank you.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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