On Wednesday 7 December, ECOSOC Member States will be asked to vote on the accreditation of 9 NGOs that have been arbitrarily blocked from UN participation, including one that has been blocked for 15 years - the longest in the history of the institution.
During the interactive dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 September 2022, Taafi initiative and ISHR delivered a joint statement urging States to support the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General’s report that reflect Syrian victims’ call to establish a new UN institution to work on revealing the fate and whereabouts of the missing, and to provide support for the families.
The CoI welcomed the recent release of the Secretary-General’s urgent report on this issue, and the clear recommendation it made for the establishment of an international body, as called for by families and survivors.
During the debate, several States including the European Union, Qatar, Germany, Luxembourg, Albania, Romania welcomed the SG’s report on ways to bolster efforts to clarify the whereabouts of missing persons in Syria.
NGOs including the International Commission of Jurists and Cairo Institute for Human Rights, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression also called for the establishment of an independent mechanism with an international mandate to coordinate and compile claims relating to missing persons, including persons who have been subjected to enforced disappearances. The international community is called upon to support a coherent and holistic approach going beyond the current efforts to address this continuing tragedy, clarify the fate of missing persons and provide support to victims, survivors and their families.
In response to the issues raised during the debate, member of the CoI, Hani Megally, welcomed the questions from the Netherlands, USA, UK and Romania, on how to move forward. He stated that the debate about whether the independent mechanism is needed or not has already ended. It is time to act on the plight of the families of the missing persons and resolve this issue which has been perpetuated for over 11 years. The families are looking to States to adopt a resolution to establish the mechanism and move it forward.
Read the joint statement below
I’m Ahmad Helmi, a Syrian survivor of 3 years of enforced disappearance and torture due to my peaceful activism, founder of Taafi initiative, a victims’-led human rights organization, and a co-drafter of the Truth and Justice charter.
In 2012, 60 days after my disappearance, a warden dragged me out of my cell for yet another interrogation. He had my phone. The moment he turned it on, the phone rang and my mom appeared on the screen. He was shocked and immediately turned it off. After two months, my mother was still tirelessly around the clock trying to reach me, hoping for an answer about her son.
This is the status of tens of thousands of Syrian mothers after 12 years of the Syrian conflict with an unprecedented number of enforced disappearances. We are past the point of saying that the international community’s efforts to deal with this issue have failed.
The recent well-documented and much-welcomed UNSG report clearly stated that the status quo is not enough. We hereby call on Member States and this Council to support the recommendations of the SG’s report that reflect Syrian victims’ call to establish a new UN institution to work on revealing the fate and whereabouts of the missing, and to provide support for the families.
ISHR joins open letter to the embassies of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America to Egypt, and the European Union Delegation to Egypt.
The two independent UN anti-torture expert bodies, the Committee Against Torture and its Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, publicly 'deplored Nicaragua's refusal to cooperate', and publish confidential report in an unprecedented move. Over the past year, Nicaragua has refused to undergo reviews by six UN committees on torture, women's rights, racial discrimination, civil and political, and economic, social and cultural rights.